The SMH meter is back for its third entry. This time, the focus will be on a couple of Western Conference big men who have been in and out of trade rumor mill this season. Marc Gasol and DeMarcus Cousins are viewed as prime trade candidates because they are either playing on a bad team or they are on a squad on the brink of a rebuild.

The Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans had great runs in the Western Conference the past years. However, recent free agency debacles and unforeseen chemistry issues have put these once proud teams into the muck.

Now, with the trade deadline just roughly five weeks away, there’s a reason why every NBA insider are closely monitoring the activities of these three teams. Trade rumors involving Gasol and Cousins have been all over the internet. More speculations are expected to come out of the rumor mill as the trade deadline approaches. Then again, not all of them hold facts and few could pass the SMH meter test.

Marc Gasol to the Portland Trail Blazers

Trade rumors concerning the Spanish big man are not really new.

Gasol has been subject to trade speculations the past two seasons, but the buzz surrounding him started to gain more steam following David Fizdale’s firing last month.

The general assumption was Gasol’s frustration with Fizdale prompted the front office to relieve the latter from his head coaching duties. Memphis general manager Chris Wallace intends to keep Gasol in the fold, but insiders and pundits doubt the front-office can keep the Spaniard happy on a non-playoff team.

Four teams could make a run at Gasol at the deadline: the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers. Of the four teams, the Blazers can put the best offer on the table. The package of Jusuf Nurkic, Evan Turner, and 2019 second-round pick would intrigue any rebuilding team, especially with the inclusion of talented big Nurkic.

Verdict: The Blazers are currently at the crossroad. They are neither a championship-caliber nor a bad team. Let’s just say they are a playoff team that knows how to get into the second round and that’s it.

That’s said, there’s no point for the Grizz to trade a budding big man in Nurkic for veteran All-Star big in Gasol, who won’t probably change the outcome of the Western Conference playoffs this year. Neil Olshey might be notorious in pulling off big trades, but he’s sane enough to know that the 32-year-old Gasol is not the answer to Portland’s thirst for a championship. At this point, all the Gasol to Blazers buzz are white noise, as none of the trustworthy insiders reported that there’s an actual discussion between the Grizz and the Blazers.

It’s well within Clairvoyant Bill category.

DeMarcus Cousins to Lakers

According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Paul George and the DeMarcus Cousins are the targets the Los Angeles Lakers could pursue at the trade deadline. George might be a long shot, especially now that the Oklahoma City Thunder are beginning to find some success with their power trio. On the other hand, Cousins is a special case with the New Orleans Pelicans just hovering around .500.

Although Pincus stressed that a Cousins to Lakers deal might not happen at all, the Pelicans’ record in February could determine the big man’s availability on the trading front.

The Lakers, armed with young talents such Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle as trade baits, are expected by Pincus to make a run at Cousins once the Pelicans start entertaining offers for him.

Verdict: The trade sounds really big for Lakers and its fans. However, it’s not the smartest route towards creating a super-team. Magic Johnson is a shrewd businessman. He’s a risk taker but he weighs the pros and cons first before making such drastic deal. Why sacrifice players (who could be safety net in case they missed badly on big stars) for a player on an expiring contract, if that team feels it has a great chance at landing him in free agency. The same goes for George. As Johnson stressed in previous interviews, the Lakers are willing to wait.

He even hinted at the idea of preserving the cap space for 2019 off-season in the event that none of their targets become available next summer. Patience is a virtue. This rumor is purely Scalabrine!

Sorry Lakers fans, maybe in the off-season!`