With captivating off-court storylines oftentimes pushing the on-court action off the front page, the league's rumor mill has seemingly taken center stage in the 2012-13 NBA season.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been desperately trying to find their sea legs and are hovering around the .500 mark, while bottom feeders are still trying to salvage what's left of their season. For those who follow the NBA's version of the hot stove, that means there is always a pile of rumors being bandied about.
With that in mind, here is a look at all of biggest whispers floating around the Association.
Bulls Pursuing Maurice Evans?
Already thin in the backcourt, the Chicago Bulls got some awful news on Sunday, as Richard Hamilton will be out indefinitely with a torn plantar fascia in his foot, according to an official release from the team:
Richard Hamilton had an MRI today that revealed he has a torn Plantar Fascia in his left foot. He will return to play as his symptoms permit— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 3, 2012
Though the Bulls have Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli on the roster as backups, neither is exactly capable of handling the full-time reins. That's why Chicago is reportedly looking into bringing Maurice Evans into the fold, according to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy:
With Richard Hamilton sidelined, the Bulls may pursue free agent Mo Evans. Chicago has expressed interest in Evans in the past.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) December 3, 2012
Evans played for the Washington Wizards last season, where he averaged 4.9 points per game in 24 games. At 34 years old, he's certainly on the back-side of his career and probably wouldn't usurp Butler or Belinelli in the rotation.
Nevertheless, there's something to be said for having a body for Tom Thibodeau to choose from in the event of another injury or ineffective play.
Celtics Want a Big Man, but No Part of Kenyon Martin?
The Boston Celtics are last in the NBA in rebounding, so it's become obvious that the frontcourt is a massive deficiency for the team. With one roster spot available, the GM told Boston.com that getting a big man was a more "pressing need" than adding a backup guard.
Just don't expect that signee to be Kenyon Martin. According to the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, the Celtics are "wary" of bringing the free-agent forward into the fold:
The Celtics are going to be patient filling their roster because there is not a plethora of quality big men on the market to help immediately with rebounding. They are wary of the attitude and disposition of Kenyon Martin, who was not asked back to the Clippers because of his unhappiness with coach Vinny Del Negro.
That hesitation has to be a familiar story for Martin. The 34-year-old told Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears last month that he wondered if he was "that bad of a guy" because teams had passed him up.
From a talent standpoint, it's hard to argue that Martin is worthy of an NBA roster. He can guard both big positions well and was integral last season to the Clippers' cause, despite his apparent discord with Vinny Del Negro.
With that said, as the season continues moving forward, it's becoming less likely by the day that Martin gets a job.
Lakers Having Internal Disagreement About Trading Pau Gasol?
Ever since Mike D'Antoni took over as the Los Angeles Lakers' head coach, it seemed like Pau Gasol's days with the team were numbered. First, there were the questions about how he and Dwight Howard would fit into D'Antoni's system, and then there were subsequent fourth-quarter benchings.
The benchings have fanned the flame on the latest rumors about the 32-year-old forward. Still, according to SheridanHoops.com's Jabari Davis, there has been some disagreement between general manager Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss about whether to trade Gasol:
General manager Mitch Kupchak is opposed to moving Gasol, who has been benched in several fourth quarters ever since Mike D’Antoni took over as head coach.
But de facto GM Jim Buss — the man who made the decision to hire D’Antoni instead of Phil Jackson, would prefer to shed 7-foot Spaniard’s contract in order to obtain a player more suitable to D’Antoni’s system.
Personally, I'm just shocked that Kupchak would dare to question a self-made basketball innovator like Jim Buss.
On a serious note, it's hard to argue with Buss' stance. Having two seven-footers clogging the middle is a detractor in D'Antoni's free-flowing system and it's become readily apparent that the coach isn't a huge fan of Gasol.
The only question is whether the Lakers will be able to get enough in return to make the trade worthwhile.