The 2013-14 NBA trade deadline will not pass until Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. More than three months away from that point in time, the rumor mill is running rampant with talks of potential trades that could include high-profile names.
The question is, what's the latest buzz surrounding the trade market?
It all starts with Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers, who has returned as a mainstay on the trade market. According to Sam Smith of NBA.com, the Lakers are looking to receive some form of compensation for Gasol before he becomes a free agent this offseason.
It may be hard to believe any rumors surrounding Gasol due to their recurring nature, but there's a legitimate possibility for him to be dealt in 2013-14. He will become a free agent after this season, and the Lakers don't have much when it comes to a future with the big man.
The only noteworthy players that are guaranteed to be back in 2014-15 are the erratic Nick Young and the soon to be 40-year-old Steve Nash. In turn, trading Gasol has become a legitimate option for a team that should be thinking ahead.
The Lakers will likely wait until Kobe Bryant returns to make any decisions, but dealing Gasol makes sense now more than ever.
Asik Still Wants to Be Traded
When the Houston Rockets pulled off the signing of Dwight Howard, almost everyone within the organization was thrilled. The player who wasn't happy with the decision was Omer Asik, who was the Rockets' starting center last season.
Just as he did before the season, Brian Windhorst of ESPN is reporting that Asik has requested a trade. Just as it did before the season, Houston has informed the 27-year-old that it will not be dealing the big man at this time.
With his starting spot gone and playing time slashed, Houston Rockets centerOmer Asik again has asked for a trade, although the team has informed him it currently does not intend to deal him, sources told ESPN.com.
The issue was revived this week when Rockets coach Kevin McHale decided to take Asik out of the starting lineup after an experiment of playing him and Dwight Howard together yielded only mixed results.
It's never a good idea to keep a player on the roster when he doesn't want to be there.
It's never easy to defend a player who requests a trade, but in Asik's case, he has a legitimate gripe. He's currently mixing a diminished role as a reserve with often playing out of position at power forward.
Worst of all, his and D-12's skill sets effectively cancel each other out.
Neither Asik nor Howard are capable jump shooters, which means that both players will only be effective near and at the basket. Furthermore, Asik's low-post game is close to non-existent, and Howard's is present but not consistent.
As a result, Houston essentially has two of the same players on the floor at the same time, which is making it difficult to draw up a floor-spacing game plan in Houston.
If Houston were to deal Asik and receive a sharpshooting power forward in return, the offense would flourish. Asik would be happier elsewhere, Howard would receive spacing and the opportunities for James Harden and Jeremy Lin to slash would increase.
Unfortunately, Houston is unwilling to make a move.
Cleveland, Sacramento in Talks
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings have promising young rosters with All-Star-caliber leaders. They're also squads that have been stuck in neutral, as a rebuilding process has become more of a permanent state of disarray.
According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, the two teams are in talks with hopes of righting their ships.
Both teams need to spice things up.
Cleveland is currently 4-7 and Sacramento is 2-6 in their first years under new head coaches. Cleveland hired Mike Brown, who ran the show during the LeBron James era, and Sacramento hired former Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone.
According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, the alleged trade talks are of no substance.
Don't expect anything in the near future, but these are two teams worth monitoring as the trade deadline grows near.
Neither team should be too urgent to make a move, as any postseason aspirations that may exist amongst their fanbases are unrealistic. Cleveland has displayed flashes of brilliance, but it's still young and inexperienced, while Sacramento lacks enough perimeter firepower to contend.
Come January, don't be shocked to see one or both of these teams pull the trigger on a trade. Until then, don't hold your breath.