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Report: Suns halt Pau Gasol trade talks (for now), think Lakers asking too much

Feb 4, 2014, 9:49 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

Don’t be surprised if these talks start up again — part of the negotiation game is to walk away from the table if you can’t get the deal you want, then check back in a few days or weeks and see if positions have changed.

However, for now, the Pau Gasol to the Suns trade talks are off, reports Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

The Phoenix Suns have stopped talks to acquire Pau Gasol because they feel the Lakers want too much for the veteran post player, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Phoenix could own four picks in the June draft, and the Lakers coveted one of the more valuable two — the pick the Suns could potentially get from Minnesota or the one they might receive from Washington.

The Washington pick would be the No. 17 pick as of today, and it is top 12 protected so the Suns would get it. The Minnesota pick is top 13 protected and the Timberwolves are right on that bubble (12th as of the start of play Tuesday).

The Lakers would get considerable salary cap relief if they just traded Gasol for the Suns Emeka Okafor, as Gasol makes $19.3 million this season and Okafor $14.4 million (the Suns are under the salary cap so they could absorb the extra). However, saving money alone is a tough sell for the Lakers to their fan base, they will want one of those higher picks.

The obvious compromise is the Suns have their own pick (currently 22nd) and the Pacers’ pick (which will be one of the last handful of the first round).

But right now both teams are posturing to say they need to get more out of the deal, with the Lakers saying they could keep Gasol past the deadline and the Suns walking away from the table.

The Suns want to see Pau Gasol back on the court, which may be a couple weeks away now and closer to the trade deadline. Which is about when they can revisit the talks with the Lakers — if they don’t get a better offer for Okafor in the meantime — and see if positions have changed.

  1. mp4philly - Feb 4, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    The most shocking part of this article is that Okafur makes 15 million a year… WHAAAA?!?

    • bougin89 - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      This is the world of guaranteed contracts in the NBA.

  2. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 4, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    A salary dump and a low 1st > nothing.

    • aboogy123456 - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      How is keeping Pau Gasol nothing?

      • eugenesaxe1 - Feb 8, 2014 at 4:06 AM

        Paying him to play on a no-playoff-seeing team?

  3. lakerade - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    In Mitch we trust.

  4. doubledown44 - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Honestly, the Lakers need to stop letting the fans run their franchise. Who cares about selling a trade to the fanbase? Besides, no matter what trade the Lakers make, their fans will react as if they won the deal anyway. It always happens, so why not just make the best deal possible and then let the chips fall where they may?

    I think any non-Lakers fan will say the best thing at this point for that team is to trade Gasol for a break on the luxury tax and a first round pick — no matter how low that pick is. Going into next season with two first round picks and salary cap space would be great for the team (and far better than watching Gasol get injured repeatedly for half a season).

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:39 PM

      “Honestly, the Lakers need to stop letting the fans run their franchise. Who cares about selling a trade to the fanbase?”

      Let’s see… fans pay for merchandise, they buy tickets to the games, and most importantly, they watch Time Warner SportsNet.

      If fans don’t want to watch Lakers games, they sure as hell aren’t going to watch the behind-the-scenes of what Noodles Nick Young and Robert Sacre do on road trips.

      If no one watches the Noodles Nick Young documentaries, Time Warner and the Lakers lose money. If the Lakers lose money, they will not be competitive. The Buss family does not have a considerable fortune outside of the Lakers.

      • coachjac30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:41 AM

        Very valid point, but are Lakers fan really going to stop watching the rest of the season because Pau Gasol is no longer on your team? The Lakers have proven in the past that they will do what they think is best for the team by signing D’Antoni as coach, when all of Laker nation was clamoring for Phil.

        Wouldn’t you rather have 30 million dollars in cap space AND two first round picks next year instead of JUST the spending money?

        Now if the Lakers think they can get a better deal, then yes, hold out. But, if this is the best offer you do get, take the deal and run with it

      • Professor Fate - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:23 AM

        I don’t see anyone but Helin claiming the fanbase is running the team. Simple good business sense means you get as much back as possible.

        My other criticism is the claim the Lakers would enjoy “considerable cap relief” if this trade went through. Since when is $5 million “considerable” in the NBA? Gasol may be slightly overpaid at $19 million, Okafor is highly overpaid at $14 million. The difference is still a relative drop-in-the-bucket that is the cap.

        The Suns could wait around to see if a better offer comes in for Okafor, but the Lakers will be doing the same thing with Gasol. At this point it should be obvious that, even injured, Gasol is worth more than Okafor. Gasol could make a big contribution to any Suns playoff run. Okafor will be sitting for the rest of the season.

        Giving up Gasol for a measly $5 million in cap relief would be downright stupid (something Mitch Kupchak ain’t), but if you want to claim it is the possible negative reaction from Lakers’ fans that would require the Suns to give up a pick as well, go ahead.

      • Kurt Helin - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        Remember that the Lakers pay luxury tax on that $5 million, so it’s more than double that sum they save, plus it leaves them just $3 million over the luxury tax line. If the Lakers made this move they would just be one or two more small ones away from not paying any tax. So yes, it’s considerable.

      • adoombray - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        For a good laugh, read Lakers forums from 3 years ago when Bynum was the guy that the fanbase thought was their irreplacable guy. Lakers fans, more than any other fanbase embrace who is on their team no matter what ; for all the proof you need look at arch rival Steve Nash wearing that ugly dull LA purple

  5. bknowledge - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    Josh Smith is a better option than Pau to play center for the Suns.

    • docrecon - Feb 5, 2014 at 12:36 AM

      Not sold on Josh Smith’s desire to give all he has. Pau wants to win & knows how to do so. Smith is the better athlete, but the Suns have plenty of those. Pau still is capable of nightly double-doubles & would be a leader. Smith is still immature in certain ways. Pau would help for another couple of seasons by which time some of the younger players would be more ready to take on more of that veteran leader role. And though Pau isn’t Marc, he’s being wasted in LA…better over-all fit in Phx.

    • siris46 - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:30 AM

      Smith is owed $42mil over the next 3 years. And he plays SF. Monroe is the PF and Drummond plays center.
      The Suns are trying to clear cap space. Gasol is a UFA at seasons end.

    • weaselpuppy - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:17 AM

      Center? uhh no. PF? Hell yes. Okafor and pick 22 is fine for JSmoove right now. He’s the King of the Island of Mis-fit toys known as The Pistons.

      • DonKellyBaby - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:32 AM

        Honestly, Joe Dumars would take a half eaten meatball marinara sub for Josh Smith.

        And you know what? I’d be surprised we actually got that much for him!

      • bknowledge - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:41 AM

        Centers of the other western conference playoff contenders:
        OKC- Perkins, Ibaka
        Blazers- Robin Lopez
        Clippers- DeAndre Jordan
        Mavs- Brandon Wright
        Spurs- Tiago, Diaw, Duncan
        Warriors- Bogut
        Houston- Dwight

        Josh could play fine against the centers of OKC, Blazers, Clippers, Mavs. Spurs won’t change what they do all that much. Bogut won’t become the offensive focal point for the Warriors. Josh would definitely have problems with Dwight (but who doesn’t).

        Its hard to see why Phoenix would want Josh’s contract, but are they gonna get someone better in free agency?
        I’m also surprised Detroit wants to trade Josh (I saw the article here a week ago).

    • ranfan12 - Feb 5, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      Isn’t smith that guy with the really bad charts?

  6. woodrree7 - Feb 5, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    Good, dudes washed up anyway.

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 5, 2014 at 12:54 AM

      You’ve got to be kidding me. SMH

    • siris46 - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:34 AM

      Washed up??? He averages 17-10-3. He has scored at least 20pts in his last 10 games. He has had a double-double in 7 of those games and missed the double-double by only 1 rebound in the other 3..

    • ranfan12 - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      lol chill. this isn’t an article about sprewell

  7. grizzlystrike - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    Josh smith isn’t goin anywhere with that horrible contract

  8. unxpexted1 - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    So the Suns are balking at a possible trade from Pau Gasol and 13th or 17th pick? Is that really that high of an asking price considered you have FOUR first rounders? How many players are you going to draft in those slots that are better than what Pau is right now. If i’m the suns i get pau on that team with a chance to sign him for a substantially less deal anyway. People talk about the injuiries, isn’t phoenix like a haven for older players because of their unebelievable training staff?

    Anybody see the special on NBAtv last night where they were putting Phoenix players in a -200 degree nitrogen tank for 2 minutes for recovery? pretty cool.

    • bougin89 - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      If the season ended today the Suns would have 3 first rounders(T’Wolves need to make the playoffs, currently they aren’t). Either way, their loaded with picks like you said.

      From a medical standpoint it seems like Phoenix is a haven. Grant Hill, Nash, Shaq, etc. all had good years and (relatively) healthy season(s) late in their careers there. In that regard Phoenix would be a good fit for Pau.

      I’m just not sold on the fact Pau fits in the up tempo system they run. Do they really want to change their offense as currently constructed? Maybe it would work, Pau is a talented player, but it would be a gamble IMO.

      • adoombray - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        They don’t run an up tempo system, they run a motion based system, similar to Minnesota : it’s fast paced yes, but relies on bigs to set screens and handle the post / rebounding.

        Gasol is a perfect fit at the 5 for the suns.

      • bougin89 - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        As long as he’s not pick n popping the whole game he’s versatile enough to play in different sets and have different responsibilities. I could very well be wrong about the fit with the Suns.

  9. aboogy123456 - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    The Suns just sound like they are choosing the biggest kid in the playground so their new GM can make a point that he’s tough. They were the ones that initiated this trade, not the Lakers. They need to stop playing games. If they are serious, make a trade, if not, then stop acting like Pau is worth nothing and move on.

    • adoombray - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:24 PM

      the suns have all the leverage, theres no way pau re-signs in los angeles, and its gonna take a playoff run to keep him in phoenix (I have to hope that Phoenix wouldnt be stupid enough to make this trade without an unspoken understanding that Pau would re-sign there).

      The lakers should be taking spare change for Pau at this point, and the Lakers are just wrestling over the first round picks that LA surrendered for the old man who hurts himself getting out of bed. You can’t make up for your mistakes that easily, Fredo Buss…

      • aboogy123456 - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        I guess you know something the rest of us don’t because you said there’s no way that pau re-signs in LA. I thought that as much as he hates the coach, he loves living in LA and they can actually afford to pay him next summer. I’m not completely disagreeing with you but can you tell me why it’s a foregone conclusion? What team should pau sign with this summer if not LA? And I like that you called Jim Buss Fredo Buss, pretty funny.

  10. aboogy123456 - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Just because Pau is older doesn’t mean he’s washed up or can’t be a part of a Lakers rebuild. The fact that he’s older means that he could be signed on a much more affordable contract. What do you think his value is? I think he’ll be something like 3 years $30 million, and I’m not sure many teams besides LA would want to offer that. That’s not bad for a guy averaging a 20 and 10 the past month, and who relies on skill as opposed to athleticism. What many people fail to realize is that the lakers do value Pau highly, Mitch has said this repeatedly. I’m open to trading Pau but it’s not like giving him for nothing will accelerate a rebuild.

    • zacksdad - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      The problem is that D’Antoni does use him right. So in his system he is not worth a 3 years $30 million contract.

  11. censormynameandmycomments - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    John Gambodoro is reporting that there were never any talks at all. This was nothing but an effort by people in the Lakers organization to drum up interest for their worthless commodity (Pau). Ryan McD isn’t stupid.

    If you’re keeping score at home, I called all this when the trade rumors first broke. Marc Stein’s original “source” was someone in the Lakers organization. The Lakers need to move Pau, they know it, the whole league knows it, which is why his value is basically zero. This whole story was nothing but an attempt by the Lakers to increase Pau’s trade value.

  12. antianarxi - Feb 5, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    the lakers are hilarious!!! they also want a pick in return LOL they should be kissing the Suns feet for helping them save millions on the repeater tax and increasing cap by offloading Pau and make space for a big signing with this deal.

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