When it comes to the NBA, each and every rumor you hear must be taken with a grain of salt. More often than not, what is being heard around the league is a reaction to preliminary talks that have yet to gain traction and will thus never come to fruition.
The question is, which rumored trades are actually worth exploring?
Certain trades appear rational, but have been downplayed as unlikely to transpire. Others simply connect one player with a potential departure, failing to provide any additional information.
One way or another, high-profile players are on the trade market and teams should take notice.
Andre Drummond for Rajon Rondo
The Detroit Pistons made a statement this offseason, signing Josh Smith to a four-year contract worth $54 million. The Pistons may be a young team, but if this signing told us anything, it's that the organization believes it's a playoff team right now.
So why not make the leap to title contention by acquiring a genuine superstar?
Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that the Pistons have expressed interest in trading for Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. According to Vince Goodwill of The Detroit News, Pistons general manager Joe Dumars confirms that trade talks have been exploratory, at best.
If both sides are wise, they'd pull the trigger on the reported Rondo-for-Andre Drummond deal.
Drummond, who was deemed "untouchable" by Dumars, has world-class upside, possessing a powerful build, elite athleticism and a great sense for positioning down low. While losing him would be a blow to Detroit's long-term future, it would be trading someone who may become elite for a player that is.
On the Pistons' behalf, that should be an easy decision to make.
For the Celtics, they're entering a transitional period that few have been able to accurately describe. They're still a postseason team with Rondo and Jeff Green leading the charge, but it's rather unlikely that they will compete for a title right now.
If they are committed to the long term, dealing Rondo for a franchise center, Drummond, and a quality young guard, Brandon Knight, is as attractive a package as they're going to find.
Brandon Jennings to Detroit
Here's the other option for the Pistons:
Whispers increasing at Vegas Summer League that Bucks are talking to Pistons about Jennings' sign and trade.— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) July 15, 2013
Let's play a game of pros and cons.
According to Vince Goodwill of The Detroit News, the reports of trade talks between the Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks are "bogus." Whether or not Dumars is telling the truth is unclear, but to this point, no deal has been executed.
That doesn't mean it shouldn't be.
By executing this trade, the Pistons would make an upgrade from Knight to Jennings and still hold onto Andre Drummond. Thus, Detroit would move forward with a core of Jennings, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Drummond.
Throw in Chauncey Billups, the perfect mentor for Jennings, and you have yourself an intimidating force.
The downside here is that Jennings and Smith are both known for their wild shot selection. Together, the Pistons would likely form one of the most out-of-control offenses in the NBA, potentially offsetting the defensive upside.
With that being said, going from Knight to Jennings at this stage of their respective careers is a significant upgrade.
Trading LaMarcus Aldridge
According to Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest, the Portland Trail Blazers met with LaMarcus Aldridge to discuss a potential trade. The result of the interview was a sense of uncertainty, as neither side made its intentions clear.
Per Haynes, Aldridge set up the meeting to discuss trade scenarios, but doesn't want to be traded—he simply wouldn't oppose a deal.
The camp for Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge arranged a meeting with general manger Neil Olshey in a Las Vegas hotel lobby on Sunday to suggest several trade scenarios, a league source informed CSNNW.com.
Aldridge told CSNNW.com that he did not request a trade and we confirmed that as being fact. However, he's not opposed to one and he has no issue with returning if that be the case, a source close to All-Star revealed to CSNNW.com.
That's what you call a mature way—take notes, NBA superstars—of asking for a trade.
The notion of trading Aldridge, an All-Star with one of the best low-post games in the NBA, seems senseless. The Trail Blazers are finally coming into their own and, with a cast of young, upside-laced players, they could be something special.
With that being said, Aldridge is 28 and will pass 30 before Portland becomes a legitimate title contender.
Should the Portland Trail Blazers trade LaMarcus Aldridge?
The Blazers have an extremely productive starting lineup, but Damian Lillard is a second-year point guard and we're still waiting for Nicolas Batum to become a superstar. It's worth waiting to see if they can reach elite, but that doesn't entirely eliminate the possibility of Aldridge.
Unfortunately, Haynes reports that Portland is targeting Blake Griffin, Al Horford, Kevin Love and Joakim Noah as compensation—a pipe dream, to say the least.
Aldridge is on the same level, and in some instances higher, than the players listed. With that being said, the trade would be a lateral move and leave neither team with an improvement.
Just don't think the options end there.
If Portland can swing Aldridge to a team that's willing to give up young players and/or draft choices, this is a deal worth exploring. If Portland thinks it'll trade one star for another, however, it won't be pleased.
It'll be tough to get this deal done, but trading Aldridge is certainly worth exploring if he's peacefully asking for out.