Pau Gasol is unquestionably the most notable name being tossed around the NBA trade rumor mill, but he's certainly not the only recognizable player on the block
As we reach the quarter mark in the 2012-13 NBA schedule, teams can finally begin assessing their rosters with long-term implications in mind. By this point in the season, a struggling player or team is no longer "slumping." They simply may just be in the midst of a lost season.
With a surprising amount of parity among top teams thus far, the pressure on general managers will be ratcheted up to compete now. For those who love the hot stove, that should lead to some huge moves before February's deadline.
For that reason, here is a look at the latest on Gasol and the rest of the top rumors floating around the Association.
Steve Nash Promise Keeping Pau Gasol in Los Angeles?
Despite Gasol being out of the lineup with a nagging injury, the trade rumors simply won't go away. The 32-year-old forward has not meshed well with Mike D'Antoni's system and had seen his minutes drop off precipitously before the knee injury cropped up.
Nevertheless, the Lakers aren't trading Gasol—at least not yet. According to CSN Bay Area's Ric Bucher, point guard Steve Nash made playing with the Spanish star a prerequisite to coming to Los Angeles:
Ignore any and all trade talk about Pau Gasol because the Lakers landed Steve Nash by promising him he would get to play with Gasol. Nash made it a prerequisite for passing on offers from Toronto and the Knicks that Pau would be around, the source said.
With Nash still out of the lineup due to a shin fracture, it's highly unlikely that the Lakers even think about moving Gasol at this time. They will instead want to get a representative sample size of how D'Antoni's offense looks with Nash running the show, to both assess the roster and appease one of their high-profile offseason acquisitions.
If Gasol still struggles when Nash comes back, however, all bets are off.
Derrick Williams Not Happy With Playing Time; Trade Possible?
Speaking of forwards having bad seasons, I'm sure Derrick Williams envisioned the second year of his career going far differently. Thus far, Williams is averaging nine points and five rebounds per game while shooting a paltry 39.3 percent from the field.
What's more, ever since Kevin Love has returned, Williams has seen his play fall off a cliff. He has four "DNP-Coach's Decisions" in the Timberwolves' last nine games and hasn't played more than 20 minutes since Nov. 16.
That lack of playing time is likely why 1500ESPN is reporting that Williams' agent has inquired about the possibility of a trade:
According to a team source, Pelinka has voiced his displeasure with Williams' lack of playing time. He hasn't gone as far as to request a trade, but he has inquired about the possibility that one will come.
The possibility of leaving Minnesota is not a new one for Williams. His name has been bandied about in trade talks in the past, most recently as a part of a Gasol package, according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne.
Though it's waning, Williams still has value around the league. Minnesota might be best off taking advantage of that and recouping some helpful assets in the process.
"Multiple Young Assets" Necessary to Land Anderson Varejao?
In the midst of his best career season, Anderson Varejao is exponentially increasing his trade value by the day. The 30-year-old forward-center is averaging 14.4 points and 15.3 rebounds per game, both career highs, and just snapped a 10-game double-double streak on Friday.
Still, at 4-16, it seems like Cleveland is destined to squander Varejao's brilliant season. The chasm between player and team trajectory is likely the reason the Cavaliers are still open to trading Varejao for the right price, according to ESPN's Chad Ford:
They're open to [trading Varejao]. But it would have to be a very good deal. Varejao is playing as well as any big man in the NBA. There is no reason to trade him unless they are getting back multiple young assets in return.
The latter part of Ford's point is most notable. Teams interested in Varejao are mostly title contenders—exactly the type of squads that don't have the assets Cleveland wants. And those contenders that do have the assets (Oklahoma City Thunder) are playing so well that there is little reason to pull the trigger on a deal.
It's beginning to look like the Cavs may be "stuck" with Varejao's 15-15 per night.