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Report: Phoenix Suns considering potential trade for Pau Gasol

Feb 2, 2014, 6:20 PM EST

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The Phoenix Suns have gotten solid production this season out of Miles Plumlee and rookie Alex Len at the center spot, but if you’re looking for a place they could upgrade at the trade deadline it would be a guy who can get them consistent points in the paint, especially come the playoffs when the game will slow down and they will have to produce better in the halfcourt.

Someone like the Lakers Pau Gasol.

The Suns have said they would be active at the trade deadline and now comes word they are exploring trading the big Emeka Okafor and his expiring deal for Gasol, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Suns, among the options being weighed as part of their well-chronicled desire to acquire an established player as they make an unexpected playoff push this season, have been exploring the feasibility of trading for the Lakers’ four-time All-Star.

One option for the Suns, by virtue of their $5.6 million in available salary-cap space, is swapping the expiring contract of injured big man Emeka Okafor for Gasol, even though Okafor’s $14.5 million salary this season falls well shy of Gasol’s $19.3 million…

How much the Suns would be willing to add beyond Okafor to a potential trade for Gasol, in terms of young talent or draft compensation, remains to be seen. But Suns officials have made no secret of the fact that the team’s wholly unexpected 29-18 start — despite playing without the injury Eric Bledsoe for the last 17 games — has led to some revisions in their long-term planning.

Gasol, when healthy, would give the Suns a skilled scorer in the half court — but he has not been fully healthy this season. He is out for the next week with a groin strain, for example.

The question is could the Suns get more for Okafor and a sweetener? (They have four first round picks in this draft and two in the 2015 draft.) Gasol is a free agent this summer and will have multiple offers to consider, the Suns have to take this into consideration.

Why would the Lakers do this? Reasons they would publicly disavow. They would get worse, racking up more and more Ping-Pong balls in the lottery, plus they would save money with this deal — if it is just Gasol for Okafor the Lakers would be just $3 million over the luxury tax line, something they could make a smaller move to get under. The Lakers would push for one of those picks, but the Suns are not likely to help out the Lakers with financial relief and a pick.

It is unlikely Gasol is back with the Lakers next season so if he is not traded to the Suns he will be shopped around. Thing is, not a lot of teams are willing to take on that massive salary.

The Suns are one of the few exceptions.

  1. ranfan12 - Feb 2, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Would definitely have to include something really good to get that kind of trade. Okafor would probably get less playing time than Caman is now if he’s still on the team, and Caman would probably take Gasol’s old role. Gasol isn’t as good defensively as he used to be, but other than for a real good trade and clearing cap space, I can’t understand trading one of the best passers, scorers, and half good defenders you have if someone can’t measure up to half his impact.

  2. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 2, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    Okafor and their lowest 1st-round pick would be good for PHO, they’re doing LA a favor whether the Lakers see it that way or not.

    • kookiebuger - Feb 2, 2014 at 7:34 PM

      You have it backwards the Suns will get more cap relief, veteran center/leader, and a productive center in Gasol who averaged 21ppg,12rpg,4apg,2bpg on 50% shooting last month for a player who played 0 games this year. The only other center close to putting up those numbers is Cousins. The Suns will have to give up the Pacers and the Wizards 1st round draft pick at the least.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Feb 3, 2014 at 2:58 AM

        My bad, I thought Gasol had another year on his contract. Still, I don’t see too many teams lining up to rent Gasol for half a season, so a 1st-rounder and improving their own draft status might be as good as it’s going to get for LA.

      • doubledown44 - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        “You have it backwards the Suns will get more cap relief”

        That is not accurate. The Suns currently have $5.6 million in cap space and most of that would be gone if they traded Okafor’s $14.5 million salary for Gasol’s $19.3 million (as stated in the ESPN story). The Lakers would save the difference in the two salaries, plus a large sum in luxury tax. In addition, because of Okafor’s injury, the Lakers would only be on the hook for 20 percent of his remaining salary while he’s out injured (which will be the whole year). The Lakers would save a lot of money assuming they don’t take any other players back.

    • sumkat - Feb 3, 2014 at 7:46 AM

      They’d be better off adding Young or Turner and Spencer Hawes from the Sixers the 2nd first round pick, and a first next year (all 3 still relatively young players, and they keep 3 picks in this draft)

      If Gasol was healthy, this would be debatable. But since he isn’t, it isn’t. If I’m the Sixers, I push Tuner/Hawes (they may be able to get a 1st for Young straight up, and change the deal to making that future 1st protected), if I’m the Suns, I push for Young/Hawes

  3. eureca323 - Feb 2, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Lakers made it pretty clear they aren’t gonna give Pau away for only financial relief when they refused the Bynum trade which would have saved them much more money. With the Lakers TV deal they aren’t very worried about the tax this year. Financially they are fine. They will be under the tax next season and be in the position to reset their repeater tax penalty.

    Lakers don’t need to trade Pau. With that said the Suns don’t need to acquire him either. Its a matter of are the Suns willing to provide enough incentive for the Lakers to flip Okafor for Pau.

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:32 AM

      The Suns would be extra nice with Pau. That would be a great acquisition for them for just Oaky and some random 1st. Me on the other hand I don’t want to see this go down. I wish he’d retire in LA.

    • mickdamill - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      This isn’t the same old Lakers team that were playoff contenders with Pau.

  4. adoombray - Feb 2, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    No way they bust this much tail to acquire assets and then dump them for expiring Gasol who would never resign in the desert given Len is their big man of the future.

  5. Wammy Giveaway - Feb 2, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    The whole purpose of trading Pau Gasol for Emeka Okafur is to get a draft pick from the Suns. That draft pick could get the Lakers one step closer into joining forces with their arch nemesis and trading for Rajon Rondo.

    The Lakers have the contracts to match Rondo’s in Steve Nash and Steve Blake to help the Celtics expedite the rebuilding process (clearing cap space), but they don’t have a draft pick to sweeten the expiring contracts. In addition, any player(s) who is (are) traded to Boston are permanently barred from joining the Clippers. The gag order between the Clippers and Celtics is still in play for the remainder of the season.

    • JHathwell - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      You think Boston is gonna trade Rondo for expirings and #1 first round pick?

      • money2long - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        what exactly do you mean by a #1 first round pick

      • JHathwell - Feb 2, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        Maybe I just didn’t understand what you were saying. Honestly, I don’t think you did either.

      • money2long - Feb 2, 2014 at 11:31 PM

        before i explain, what indication do you have to say that you honestly dont think i do not know what i was asking

      • money2long - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:33 PM

        yeah, because that question deserved a thumbs down. haha

    • casualcommenter - Feb 2, 2014 at 10:37 PM

      The Celtics trading Rondo’s contract for Steve Nash’s contract doesn’t count as “clearing cap space” at all. Nash is under contract for $10 million next year (final).

      Meanwhile, Rondo is under contract for $13 million next year (final year).

      Both of their deals are the same length and have almost exactly the same value. Meanwhile, Rondo is a much better player than Nash at this point of their respective careers, and Nash insists he won’t retire.

      Try researching contracts before proposing trades.

      • Wammy Giveaway - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:54 AM

        I’ve had this in my mind since the beginning of the season. I did my research. I know Rondo is $12 million right now. Nash and Blake’s contracts work.

        And they don’t even have to trade Nash to Boston, ya know. Boston could decide on a three-team deal involving the Raptors or another team – as long as it is not the Clippers due to the gag order.

        I’m getting tired of people who think I don’t do my research, as if I’m some sort of a homer living in a pipe dream. Is it wrong of me to hypothesize a team’s end game, to think two steps ahead and uncover the real reason why said things are happening? Just cause I think this trade could lead to something like acquiring for Rondo doesn’t make me a homer. The Lakers could be getting Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving or somebody who I never even considered.

        Maybe I could be right on this, maybe I could be wrong. The one thing I will not stand for is being insulted.

      • mickdamill - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        Wammy are you high? Do you think these teams would really trade away these players which their whole franchise relies on? You are far too hopeful but keep dreaming Jr.

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:36 AM

      Thisss^^

      I like your thinking wammy! LOL

      I’d do Rondo for Pau without even blinking. And I LOVE Pau!
      Hashtag keepdreaming hashtag nevergonnahappen

    • sumkat - Feb 3, 2014 at 7:54 AM

      Why would the Celtics even consider this? Rondo clearly isn’t 100%, and they have actually been much worst since he came back.

      They are racking up plenty of ping pong balls already (and would get less with Gasol in the east), so why trade your only current building block? I personally think Rondo is very good, but overrated. He’s not a top 5 PG IMO. BUT, if the C’s put him on the market, they’ll get a better deal than an expiring and a 1st (that won’t be at the top of the draft). Dallas, for example, would give up a few expiring and at least a few firsts for him, which if Dirk breaks down or they can’t get the right guys around the 2 of them, will probably be better picks

    • bougin89 - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      Hard to say you do any research when you post things like this:

      “The Lakers have the contracts to match Rondo’s in Steve Nash and Steve Blake to help the Celtics expedite the rebuilding process (clearing cap space), ”

      It would take MUCH more than a first round pick sweetener to make that trade work. The Celtics get minimal cap savings and trade away a really valuable trade chip(at the minimum).

      What research says this is even a considerable option for Boston?

  6. JHathwell - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    I’d actually argue that the Lakers have a little leverage in this deal. Phoenix is looking to get better, and Gasol represents a huge upgrade for them at Center, even if he’s just a rental. Considering their embarrassment of draft pick riches, I’m sure the Lakers get one of their #1’s and maybe even a young player to boot.

    • sumkat - Feb 3, 2014 at 8:00 AM

      again, they could get 2 of the Sixers have on the market for slightly more. They’d be bringing in young guys as opposed to a rental. Hawes is an upgrade at C for them (and a solid player when just asked to play his role), and Turner or Young would be very solid 2nd unit player for them. All 3 of them could/would be part of the Suns plans going forward

      The Lakers only have leverage if there isn’t another deal out there for them to get better. Not only are other deals to be had, but considering Gasol can walk for nothing, there are better deals out there. If they get the last of the firsts for Gasol, I’d be shocked

      If it gets closer to the deadline, and other players are moved/taken off the market, this could be possible. But I can’t see it being the first chip to fall

      • JHathwell - Feb 3, 2014 at 9:18 PM

        Hawes and Spencer are both free agents, which makes them rentals just like Pau, and Young is a nice player that fits what they do but he’s not going to make them more better or increase their playoff prospects. If they bring in Pau, it’s because of what he means to their post-season chances.

  7. billtetley53 - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    He’s a delusional lakers fan, of course he does. What a dope. Celtocs already have multiple #1s the next 2-3 drafts.

    This is one of the more ridiculous ones though.

    • money2long - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      lakers were called delusional before they got dwight

  8. jkaflagg - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    The issue is not value; NBA trades never are. The Suns need to be wary of how Gasol might affect the chemistry they have built with their no-stars roster. He’s become quite the pouter (with some justification) his last two years, and there has to be some doubt about how he’d play away from LA. But if they’re are convinced he’ll be motivated, his low post game could really give the Suns a different look to spring on teams in the playoffs.

  9. woodrree7 - Feb 2, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    Not only no, but HELL NO!! Gesol is washed up and the Suns don’t need him. They need to stay young and athletic in a trade. keep Gesol in LA

  10. censormynameandmycomments - Feb 2, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    When Ryan McD said they were looking to add an allstar caliber player, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about an injured, overpaid 33y/o 3 years removed from his last allstar game. Anyone wanna bet that Marc Stein’s “source” works for the Lakers?

    • JHathwell - Feb 2, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      They are paying Okafor 14m not to play. Im pretty sure Getting Pau for a tad more is a good move for a team with Plumlee and Al Len at Center, not to mention you’re getting a 2 time champion with invaluable experience.

      • bigd53 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:05 AM

        Pretty sure you’re dead wrong. First of all, Plumlee and Len have already proven a stellar combo have stood their ground quite well in the post. Gasol has made it clear he’s ready to move on and likely sick of hearing the trade rumors. (Who could blame him?) Sure, he’s had good stats, but he’s asking way more than the Lakers can afford… They’ve gotta get rid of him from a financial standpoint, but also from a team chemistry standpoint. Let’s face it, they suck and are in no position to make demands. Not to mention, the Suns are doing and will continue to do just fine without a “big name”. The chances of another team picking up an aging vet with that kind of a contract is slim to none. It’s time for LA to get humble, swallow their pride, and take what they can get. I say straight up trade, Gasol for Okafor and maybe a 2nd Round pick, IF they’re lucky.

      • JHathwell - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:59 PM

        Well, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, no matter how misguided it may be.

        Good luck down the stretch and in the playoffs with no offense post presence.

  11. billtetley53 - Feb 2, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    Yeah, when all you have is typo to pick at. why would you bother to post anything?

    Also, what Did Dwight get you? Swept out of the playoffs and bolted to a better Rockets team the 1st chance he got.

    Also, quit worrying about the GD thumbs!
    Do you get some sort of verification of your self worth by how many thumbs up you get?

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:50 AM

      Who the in the flying f are you talking to 6 coiler? Who said anything about thumbs? Are you seeing some comment that the rest of us can’t see?

  12. casualcommenter - Feb 2, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    I get the logic from the Lakers’ perspective. This is a lost season for them due to all their injuries. Getting another first rounder to add to their own first rounder (which should be high) could set them up nicely in one of the best drafts in years.

    Not sure I get the logic for the Suns. The Suns have been getting it done by being an up-tempo, young, and athletic team with a shared scoring burden.

    Pau Gasol only makes sense for a team that plays slow and is looking for a guy who can try to be a force in the lowpost. Do the Suns really want to take the ball out of Dragic’s hands to consistently feed Gasol the lowpost? If not, it’s hard to justify paying Gasol’s huge salary this year for an underutilized player.

    • bigd53 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:13 AM

      I see your point, but will say this- underutilized is better than not utilized at all. For a couple mil more, they can dump Okafor and land an experienced vet who has rings to (if nothing else) provide leadership both on and off the court. Now, not that I’m saying the team lacks leadership. Hornacek and McDonough are pretty smart guys and should they make a trade, Pau’s gonna have to convince them he’s not gonna jack up the chemistry.

  13. crillbill - Feb 2, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    Suns could probably give them the 2 lower no 1s. They definitely won’t have room for 4 no 1s next year. Realistically having 2 is plenty and with their 2nd round picks would have to just draft euro long shots that won’t play for a few years.. So now in a position to get deeper in playoffs why not grab gasol. Unless there is something else being offered that’s better it’s a no brainer for the suns.

    • bruiserbrigade - Feb 3, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      Stop it. You’re not getting 2 1st rounders. You probably won’t even get 1. we could just package those number 1’s to move up a couple slots if a prospect catches our former scout turned GM’s eye. (This is the guy that hit on Rondo and Bradley, whom were late first round picks, and most recently fleeced Indy for Miles Plumlee and a 1st). Those picks can always be packaged on draft night if nothing is there. Or even later on in the season.

  14. coachjac30 - Feb 2, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    I don’t see the major downside for Phoenix here. I don’t love the idea of potentially giving up a first round pick, to a division foe no less, but I think Gasol can help them in a few ways. While they are an up tempo team, remember that playoff games generally are played at a much slower pace. If they are able to set the tempo in those games, they could play Pau at the 5. Pau also could help the development of Len by working with him. I haven’t seen any of the Suns games this year, but how has Len been? Has he had any effects from his injury/surgery in the preseason?

    For the Lakers, you get obvious benefits as well if there is a pick involved or not. Even if there is no pick involved, you save money, and you lose more games to better your draft lottery standing. People can say all they want about the Lakers not being worried about money, but when you are a cellar dweller, you bet your arse they care. Why would they want to pay extra money when/if they don’t have to.

    • bigd53 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:19 AM

      Len hasn’t played much, but from what I’ve seen, he’s a strong presence in the paint. He certainly has a bright future ahead. I could see him as a force to be reckoned with.

  15. ranfan12 - Feb 2, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    Suns are too fast to have Pau changing up their offense. He’d slow them down.

  16. chicagosports2014 - Feb 3, 2014 at 12:45 AM

    Taj Gibson can help turn things around, Gasol old in the toothe

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:32 AM

      Taj wishes he could do what Pau can do at 33 now

  17. bruiserbrigade - Feb 3, 2014 at 5:04 AM

    They’re lucky if we give them the Pacers pick for Gas-hole. I get they’re not that worried about being repeat tax offenders (and the extra luxury tax penalties that entails), but they should be kissing our behind to get those extra ping-pong balls since not much teams can absorb that much cap space. Haha how the mighty have fallen. Pucker up Lakers!

  18. billtetley53 - Feb 3, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    1st moron: Malt, if you look at money2longs posts, you will see him asking why his question got a thumbs down…..GET IT?!
    Although I’m flattered that you tried to use my three coiler comment, doubling it to six doesn’t make it better or funnier. Get your own material, I’d rather fail with my own stuff, than fail by trying to improve others stuff.
    2nd moron: When you post outlandish scenarios, you should expect to be derided for it. Just because the “salaries match” doesn’t make it a viable trade. Spend a little less time with the trade generator, and a little more time in the real world.
    If you don’t stand for being ridiculed, you may as well leave now, especially when you post idiotic trade scenarios.

    The days of dumb trades heavily favoring the lakers are over. They will be lucky to get ONE of those guys you listed.
    The only viable trade chip they have is Gasol, and he can’t stay healthy. The rest of the team outside of Kobe is an old broken down pg, and d league material.
    No 1st round puck after this year until 2017.,*Get used to your team stinking, they will for some time.

    • bougin89 - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      “No 1st round puck after this year until 2017″

      This is ironic. The Lakers have 2 first round picks before 2017 but don’t have their first round pick in 2017.

      The Lakers have their first round pick in 2014(this summer). 2015 1st rounder is owed to the Suns. They have their first round pick in 2016. Their 2017 1st rounder is owed to the Magic (top 5 protected). In the current CBA it’s not possible to trade away 1st round picks in consecutive seasons.

  19. bigd53 - Feb 3, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    I think the favor weighs heavily in the Suns front office. Clearly, the Lakers are in a position where they need a favor- help them get rid of Gasol. If you pay attention to all of the blogs/articles, you will notice it’s only saying “Suns interested in possible trade” it did NOT say “Suns among teams looking for trade”. The Lakers’ options are slim to none and they clearly want to get rid of Gasol. I say the ONLY thing stopping this trade is the Suns saying he will mess up our chemistry or he will not fit in this system which, btw, is doing quite alright without a “star veteran”. Adding ANY pick, let alone a 1st rounder is a tall order. Multiple picks would be ludicrous

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:06 PM

      We had run a report long before Gasol came up that the Suns planned to be active at the deadline and were buyers.

  20. billtetley53 - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Bougin: I stand corrected. Regardless, after this year, they have 1 first rounder in the following 3 drafts up til 2017.That’s going to bite them in the butt because of the depleted roster and more restrictive free angency. I just don’t see a lot of guys leaving $ on the table to move on.

    Dwight did it, but he’s an abberation and wanted to get away from Kobe. He’s young enough where he will get another max deal.

    I just find it humorous that lakers fans think Minnesota is going to just let Love walk. Or any other teams with fa’s. They will trade before getting nothing in return.

    Lakers have zilch to offer in terms of a trade.
    Yep, they have loads of cap room, but the big dogs aren’t taking a pay cut.

    They will get 2ndary players, not Melo or LeBron.

    The glory days are over for the lakers, I just wish these delusional teens would get that the landscape changed with the latest cba.

  21. billtetley53 - Feb 3, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    Had a very long posting that didn’t get on here for some reason. Lets just say you are correct Bougin, my mistake on the draft picks. I hate this site at times though. No rhyme or reason for posts not getting on…

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