The 2013-14 NBA regular season is just over two weeks away from commencing. Just as it seems as if rosters have been locked and rotations have begun to be set, however, the league erupted with a series of rumors surrounding potential game-changing trades.
The question is, what is the latest buzz about the deals that could alter the landscape of the NBA?
The regular season will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 29 with three games featuring five postseason teams from 2012-13. Before those games can transpire, however, reports are emerging that teams could be looking to make high-profile trades.
What else is new in the NBA?
Pau Gasol Trade Rumors Are Back; Lakers Targeting PG
Over the course of the past three seasons, no player in the NBA has been at the center of as many trade rumors as Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite helping to lead the team to two NBA championships, Gasol is often spoken of as the most expendable piece on the roster.
According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, the Lakers are again shopping Gasol in hopes of landing a young point guard.
One Eastern Conference executive told FOX Sports Ohio he’s heard from the Lakers recently, and word around the league is they may try to make a "substantial" trade before the regular season. Apparently, forward Pau Gasol remains far from untouchable.
Many NBA talent-evaluators feel as if Steve Nash is no longer capable of playing at a high level for more than 15-20 minutes game. The Lakers, it is believed, are on the lookout for a younger point guard who's a more potent scorer. But as everyone who deals in the trade market will tell you, that won't be so easy to obtain.
Are there ever not trade rumors surrounding Gasol?
There's no question that the Lakers need a younger and more athletic point guard moving into the future. There's also little doubt that those who are writing Nash off seem to have short-term memory and are making assumptions on what will happen instead of watching the season play out.
As recently as 2011-12, Nash averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists on a slash line of .532/.390/.894.
In 2012-13, Nash battled a severe leg injury that lingered throughout the season and forced him to miss 32 regular season games. When he returned, Nash saw a statistical decline due to Kobe Bryant's ball-dominance, thus becoming an off-ball player.
If averaging 12.7 points on a slash line of .497/.438/.922 is bad, someone needs to explain to me what good is.
With all of this being established, Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles reports that head coach Mike D'Antoni said Nash will sit "off-and-on" during the 2013-14 NBA regular season. In turn, the Lakers will need a point guard who can step in as a rising star, a la Eric Bledsoe behind Chris Paul for the 2012-13 Los Angeles Clippers.
If it does come at the expense of Gasol, the Lakers better be landing a genuine star. Otherwise, it'll be a wasted trade of a player that still performs at a superstar level.
Gasol registered four triple-doubles during his final seven games in 2012-13. Only four other players had at least three triple-doubles during the entire 2012-13 season.
Utah Searching for Trey Burke's Short-Term Replacement
According to Jody Genessy of The Deseret News, rookie point guard Trey Burke will miss 8-to-12 weeks after fracturing his index finger. The Utah Jazz traded to acquire Burke from the Minnesota Timberwolves after he was selected No. 9 overall at the 2013 NBA draft.
Per Marc Stein of ESPN, the Jazz are targeting another former first-round draft choice to be Burke's short-term replacement: Marquis Teague of the Chicago Bulls.
Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago recently wrote that the Bulls' acquisition of Mike James could potentially make Teague expendable.
Teague posted first-year averages of 2.1 points and 1.3 assists in 8.2 minutes, also playing in eight postseason games for Chicago. The 6'2", 190-pound floor general was once one of the most highly-touted high school recruits in the country, but was lost in the hype surrounding the 2012 Kentucky Wildcats.
Teague ended up going No. 29 overall to Chicago at the 2012 NBA draft as the Bulls looked to provide depth behind Derrick Rose.
If there's one thing that Teague could offer Utah, it's a pace-pushing burner who can get up-and-down the floor as quickly as any player in the league. The other options for the Jazz are former Bull John Lucas III and Summer League, D-League and former Marquette star Jerel McNeal.
Depth is never a bad thing to have, especially when a young player suffers a relatively severe injury this early in his career.
Denver Nuggets Open to a Move
According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, the Denver Nuggets are open to making a trade before the 2013-14 regular season begins. There have yet to be reports about which players the Nuggets could be targeting, but Amico suggests that Jimmer Fredette of the Sacramento Kings could be a potential addition.
Sacramento doesn't have much reason to hold onto the former BYU star, and Denver needs shooters.
Above Fredette on the depth chart are Greivis Vasquez, who ranked No. 3 in the NBA in assists per game in 2012-13, and Isaiah Thomas. Thomas was drafted during the same year as Fredette, and his work ethic and rapidly improving game have made him the more favorable option.
After the 2013 All-Star Break, Thomas averaged 17.3 points and 5.4 assists on 41.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc in 30.6 minutes. In that same period of time, Fredette averaged 6.9 points and 1.4 assists on 40.8 percent shooting from distance in 13.6 minutes.
It's clear who Sacramento favors.
Denver added sharpshooter Randy Foye, who ranked No. 7 in three-point field goals made and No. 24 in three-point field goal percentage in 2012-13. With that being said, Denver is a very poor half court team that ranked 25th in three-point field goal percentage as a team.
Adding Fredette may not be flashy, and the point guard position is deep in Denver, but Brian Shaw's squad needs shooters.
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