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Lakers Trade Rumors: Examining Latest Reports Surrounding Los Angeles

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJanuary 21, 2015

BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 5:  Brook Lopez #11 of the Brooklyn Nets shoots a free throw against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 5, 2013 at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE  (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Only the Los Angeles Lakers could have a 12-30 record and be in the midst of a five-game skid, and still be a major topic of conversation on the midseason rumor mill.

Despite the Lakers' struggles, there's still plenty of buzz about potential trade-deadline deals.

Bringing Brook Back to Cali?

Feb. 5, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) reacts after a basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Barclays Center. Lakers won 92-83. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski tells us about the Lakers' interest in Brooklyn Nets big man Brook Lopez.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Brooklyn's most serious talks for Brook Lopez are in the West, sources tell Yahoo. Lakers interested, but likely short assets for deal.

Lopez has seemingly fallen out of favor in head coach Lionel Hollins' big-man rotation. The younger, more defensive-minded Mason Plumlee has taken many of Lopez's minutes.

Plumlee is now the starter and Lopez's minutes are down to 26.2 per game. In his career, he's averaged 32.6. There's no question Lopez is an offensive force (17.8 for his carer) and a decent shot-blocker (1.7). He's also just 26 years old and headed for unrestricted free agency.

The Lakers have to like their chances of re-signing Lopez if he does indeed come via trade midseason. He was born in North Hollywood, California, and played his collegiate ball at Stanford. It would seemingly be a match made in Southern Californian heaven.

As Wojnarowski points out, the Lakers are "likely short [on] assets." Still, if word circulated that Lopez fancies being a Laker in 2016 and beyond, it might discourage other teams from making a significant offer as they might be renting his services.

It may not be the equivalent of signing Shaquille O'Neal, or even robbing the Memphis Grizzlies of Pau Gasol, but Lopez would keep the Lakers' big-man tradition flowing without prolonged pause. A frontcourt anchored by Lopez and injured rookie Julius Randle is fairly exciting.

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Aggressive Elsewhere

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers don't simply have their sights set on Lopez. They had interest in Oklahoma City Thunder's newly acquired guard Dion Waiters and others.

Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne

As for Lakers, they have been very active since 12/15. Made calls on Waiters, Jennings, Monroe. Asst GM Glen Carraro is working the phones.

Much like Lopez, Greg Monroe and Brandon Jennings are headed toward unrestricted free agency. Any team that acquires them at the deadline might want to be sure it can keep him. Jennings is also a native of California, so there might very well be a pull for him to come back.

While every team and player potentially involved has to think about the future, you have to wonder if the Detroit Pistons will want to disturb their current chemistry.

Since releasing Josh Smith, the Pistons are 11-3 and just 1.5 games out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps a little success might be enough to entice Jennings and Monroe to re-sign for the right price under the direction of new head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy. Perhaps, the pull of playing for the purple and gold might be too much for them to resist, even if they aren't dealt.

Win or lose, the Lakers continue to captivate us.

Follow Brian Mazique on Twitter. Basketball is awesome.

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