The 2013-14 NBA season is in its infancy, but that won't stop the rumor mill from churning.
Who is your preseason favorite to win the 2013-14 NBA Finals?
It's been a busy offseason in the hoops world, with various players changing teams (see Howard, Dwight) and all 30 franchises making plans to do what it takes to reach the NBA Finals next summer.
Early injuries and lackluster preseason play have forced general managers to explore the trade market, and other personnel decisions (i.e. contract situations) will be on the front burner until opening night.
We'll take a look at a few of the freshest league rumors below, and break down what it all means when it comes to the always-changing NBA landscape.
Lakers Seeking Trade for Pau Gasol?
If it seems to you like Pau Gasol has been on the trading block for the last three years, it's because he has.
According to Fox Sports' Sam Amico, it appears Gasol might once again have one foot out the door.
Amico's report claims that the Los Angeles Lakers are trying to make a "substantial" trade before the season begins, and if you take a quick peak at the roster, the lone player who would quantify that assertion is the big Spaniard.
Gasol, who recently made headlines by saying that he would not take a pay cut in free agency next summer, might be used as bait to land a replacement—or at least one that can play significant minutes this year—for aging point guard Steve Nash.
Listed as "far from untouchable" in Amico's report, only time will tell if there's any real traction in the idea that Gasol will be parting ways with the Lakers in the near future.
After losing Dwight Howard this summer, the Lakers are very thin in the frontcourt. Chris Kaman has arrived, but he's reportedly already beat up, having hurt his finger at the Great Wall of China over the weekend.
Should L.A. trade Gasol?
Yes, you read that right. Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Bresnahan can fill you in with more information on the setback.
With a salary that exceeds $19 million this season, it will be hard to find a straight-up taker that both meets the Lakers needs and would be willing to part with young talent for a player in the final year of his current contract.
Los Angeles might need to pull in a third team—and part with other pieces—if it indeed wants to make a big splash before the season begins.
Marquis Teague to Jazz?
The news on Trey Burke is in, and it's not good for Utah Jazz fans: The rookie point guard is reportedly set to miss eight to 12 weeks after surgery on his fractured index finger.
Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reported the update on Twitter:
Trey Burke needs pins in his fractured index finger. He will be out 8-12 weeks after surgery, per his agent.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) October 14, 2013
However, the Salt Lake Tribune posted this tweet on Monday morning that claims the timetable on his return won't officially be known until after surgery:
According to the Jazz's official Twitter account, that procedure will take place on Tuesday:
Trey Burke will have surgery on his fractured right index finger tomorrow.— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) October 14, 2013
ESPN's Marc Stein claimed last week that pending the news on Burke, the Jazz might be interested in picking up the phone and contacting the Chicago Bulls about point guard Marquis Teague:
Hearing: Utah has previously shown trade interest in Bulls' Marquis Teague and could well revisit interest depending on Trey Burke timetable— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 13, 2013
Teague, whose contract has a team option the next two summers before hitting restricted free agency in 2016, is entering his second season in the NBA after being selected by the Bulls in the 2012 draft. He played in 48 games last year and averaged 2.1 points and 1.3 assists.
With John Lucas III and Scott Machado the only true point guards currently on the roster, you could make the case that the Jazz are in dire straights at the position.
However, summer league standout Ian Clark and Alec Burks are other candidates to take care of the position while Burke fully heals. Utah is likely doing its due diligence, but a trade at this point might be a stretch.
More NBA Rumors
Per Amico's report referenced above, the Denver Nuggets are another team interested in making a move during the preseason. He lists Jimmer Fredette and Richard Hamilton as potential options, but does note that "no one from the organization" has validated those specific players as targets.
Elsewhere, it appears the Boston Celtics have a decision to make with Avery Bradley.
The standout from Texas has come into his own over the past two seasons, and will look to take yet another leap with playing time virtually assured after the offseason roster shuffle. But will he have the luxury of a new contract while doing so?
According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, the Celtics have until Oct. 30 to make a decision about Bradley's contract situation. Per the report, it seems likely that the team will offer him a one-year deal to make him a restricted free agent next summer, but a multi-year deal is also reportedly still on the table.
There isn't a whole lot of chatter concerning potential NBA shakeups right now, but with roster cuts looming and coaches starting to get a feel for the weaknesses their teams possess, that could change very quickly.
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