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Monday, February 3rd, 2014 at 9:00 am  |  64 responses

Suns and Lakers Reportedly Exploring Pau Gasol Trade

 

by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni 

According to multiple published reports, the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns are discussing a possible trade for center Pau Gasol.

The Suns are said to be dangling Emeka Okafor’s expiring $14.5 million deal in exchange for the former All-Star.

Per ESPN and the LA Times:

A trade for Okafor’s expiring deal would not save the Lakers as much as a deal for (Andrew) Bynum would have, but it would come with undeniable financial benefits. The $4.8 million difference between Gasol’s cap number and Okafor’s would immediately drop the Lakers less than $3 million away from the league’s luxury-tax threshold, meaning one more smaller deal before the Feb. 20 trade deadline could conceivably be enough to take them out of tax territory completely.

It’s usually a no-no to deal with a division rival, but the Suns have quietly stockpiled draft choices and can offer the Lakers a first-rounder in the June draft, considered one of the best in years. The Suns could hold up to four first-round picks this year, depending on the records of past trade partners Minnesota, Indiana and Washington.

Emeka Okafor hasn’t played in 2013-14 due to a neck injury.

Pau Gasol, dealing with a sore right groin, is expected to miss at least one week. The 33-year old has rallied back from early-season struggles with averages of 20.8 points and 11.9 rebounds the last month. Gasol scored 20 or more points in his last 10 games, the longest such streak of his career.

Pau will be a free agent this summer, and is reportedly comfortable with a trade to Phoenix (the Lakers at 16-31 are going nowhere.)

The Suns, continuing to surprise with a 29-18 record, are intrigued by Gasol since they would be acquiring a solid big man for the rest of the year without negatively impacting their flexibility for the future.

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  • Kt

    Good deal for Lakers getting another draft pick and who cares about the expiring deal. As Laker fan I can admit that this whole season is wasted and it’s time to reload. I blame time warner for screwing up fan experience and jinxing the organization. Jim buss still sucks.

  • Tarzan Cooper

    the suns should only do this if they can sign pau for a couple years. otherwise, its just a waste.

  • Saleem Rainman

    not really, few months of pau gasol to help you try to make noise in the playoffs > a few months of Okafor not playing.

  • Tarzan Cooper

    but then there is the draft pick phx is sending out. for one playoff series with pau? i dont think its worth it.

  • JJ Jones

    They should take nash too (wishful thinking) so he can properly retire as a sun

  • Anthony

    Pau must live for the trade deadline…every season…this is every frickin’ season…smh!

  • JoeMaMa

    Win/win for this trade. Lakers can properly tank, Suns can properly contend. Phoenix likely goes second round, gives the young guys great playoff experience, which is as valuable as anything else in the league. Lakers just open the flood gates, give their young guys scads of playing time, give Kobe a big reason to just focus entirely on getting healthy, and save a bunch of cash. Now, if Nash would only retire….and if every single Suns player would continue to play above their respective heads…..

  • Tarzan Cooper

    it must really suck

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    If Pau is going to come in and start, he’ll make the Suns worse.

  • TJG

    as a through and through Lakers fan, the treatment of Pau is certainly disheartening, the guy is a stand up guy with so much class that’s being constantly shopped these few past seasons… the swap proves to be beneficial but at the expense of Pau is rather emotional than professional, and yes someone please fire Nash’s ass even if he’s a fellow Canadian

  • TJG

    I think they’re gonna do their “magical” medical stuff assessment ASAP Pau arrives, then he’s gonna be given new life and prosper and destroy my Lakers when they meet up again, b/c as we all know the Suns medical stuff is amazing

  • ATL dynamite

    I’m thinking the same thing. This Suns team’s signature is to run, in which backcourt play is key. Adding a frontcourt force who has already been slow in proper half-court settings? The Suns may expect the same result of bringing in Shaq a couple years before.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i think this is more, bring Pau in as a one year mentor/back-up to help the young guys. Alex Len could really use Pau’s tutelage. That would be my biggest motivation for this move. Emeka isn’t playing anyway, and Indiana’s draft pick is meh, make that move, keep Pau for a few months to help the younger guys and get him out of LA where he’s unhappy, and then let him find greener pastures this summer.

  • Lauren Bryan

    The Suns could hold up to four first-round picks this year,

  • shockexchange

    Gimp, you’re a better man than the Shock Exchange cause the Lakers wouldn’t have to tell him but 9 times they didn’t want him. They wouldn’t have to tell S.E. 10 times.

  • ATL dynamite

    But the irony is, there’s no reason for Jeff Hornacek to not play Pau in their playoff games (given that they successfully secured a place) with that pay check he’s receiving. Pau would at least play 25-30 mins, and imo if that means the Suns have to change their style of play to what’s not been the strength of their whole roster, the trade itself have no concrete reason to be executed.

    Yes, Pau would be the perfect mentor for Len, who have shown footwork prowess already in his college career. If Pau could add any passing game in Len’s it would be fantastic. But a year’s time is too short for Pau to really do much about another player’s skillset, and if it comes at a cost of breaching their style of play (their major reason of success this season), this trade better not be done

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “there’s no reason for Jeff Hornacek to not play Pau in their playoff games”

    - dude, if he makes them worse. that in itself is plenty of reason not to play him.
    .
    i don’t see any risk with adding Pau at all. You won’t be adding a significant amount of money, and you would be paying a player who can actually contribute, rather than one who is rehabbing on the other side of the country. And you are not forced to actually give him any minutes. Even if he’s unhappy, you can just tell him to stay home. Doesn’t change anything at all from how it already is.

  • ATL dynamite

    Still the only thing that bothers me is that the Suns have to do so much to land a star (in the eyes of the fans who might expect him to lodge heavy minutes) who won’t actually play but be a mentor of Len, while you have to give away Okafor’s expiring contract and a draft pick that may be put into use in other more favourable trade scenarios. And I selfishly think Pau deserves much better treatment than getting DNPs or playing insignificant minutes lol I really like him as a player or a person.

    But yes, I agree with everything you said, the Suns won’t need to risk anything to do the trade.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i agree with that, it’s sort of a matter of how much you value the late draft picks. with the trade deadline right around the corner, either way i wouldn’t expect this trade to happen till right at the last minute.
    .
    and if Phoenix does value the playoffs over those draft picks, trading whichever one’s before the deadline (max value or not) is really the only option.

  • ATL dynamite

    True. And there’s no way they’re gonna use all 4 of their picks in the draft, they already have a bunch of young guys to be developed like Goodwin or the Morris Twins etc.. IMO they should bring in a scoring point (similar to what Lowry’s been doing for the Raptors) to replace Bledsoe’s production, even if Bledsoe returns one day they can play that new guy on the bench to provide another scoring punch when the second unit’s on (somewhat like a lightning quick Barbosa replacing Steve Nash, not giving their opponent a moment of peace). That might do them better than adding Pau in this case.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well they just signed Barbosa throughout the rest of the season, and he’s been pretty productive. Also, adding another rotational PG when you have 4 on the roster (Dragic, Bledsoe, Barbosa, Ish Smith) would create quite the logjam. If they do have to make a trade before the deadline, i just hope it’s for an expiring contract, or for an asset that lets them jump into the Kevin Love conversations this summer. That guy is going to get traded before March 2015, I would probably wager a paycheck on it.

  • LakeShow

    I will forever and always love Barbosa.

    I was hoping the Lakers would grab him when the got D’Antoni, but they needed a PG, not a SG. He’s just a blast to watch.

  • ATL dynamite

    How productive exactly is Barbosa? I haven’t followed his performance up late to be honest. Just that to me Barbosa or Ish Smith isn’t that much of a legit threat (to my perception only), if only the Suns can use a heat check guy like Gerald Green who can REALLY light it up (but playing PG/SG) , the firepower will put the Suns team on another level. But seems like it’s not gonna happen with the Suns now as you said.

    How big of a possibility would Love be joining the Suns in your opinion? There’s no way he’s not gonna leave Minnesota if he want to do big things in the league.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    He’s putting up about 15-4-4 per 36 minutes. i think he’s only playing 20mpg at the moment, but still he’s been productive in the minutes he’s playing.
    .
    well i’d put Kevin Love’s chances at ending up in Phoenix at like 10% at most. But being in the conversation puts them in the conversation for any big name on the market. He’s just the player I most want them to go after, and all the buzz around the front office is that they have already enquired about him (idk if that’s public).

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i remember you saying that …..

    (this has nothing to do with your comment) he tore his ACL last February, so him even being back and looking normal 12 months later is pretty impressive for a 31 year old. maybe he can translate this late season performance into another multi-year contract.

  • ATL dynamite

    Wow, surprising to hear that Barbosa can still produce at such a high level. Hope that he can continue to perform come playoff time tho, according to my memory he’s been shaky on his last trip to the playoffs.

    Your Suns-Kevin Love situation reminds me of that Hawks-Howard scenario last summer. Standing a legit chance of landing the player tho it’s pretty slim in reality, with the player eyeing big market and the teams expressing interest already at an early stage. Hope your situation won’t pan out like ours tho.

  • spit hot fiyah

    “Gasol scored 20 or more points in his last 10 games, the longest such streak of his career.”

    that really surprised me

  • LakeShow

    Is Len starting to play more is that the main reason for your opinion?

    I have a hard time thinking Pau could make a team worse by starting for a player he’s better than.

    But if your saying from a developmental pov, I can totally understand that.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he’s better than both of Miles Plumlee and Channing Frye.
    .
    But what he’s worse at …. is exactly what Phoenix needs out of those positions to play in their system. Pau will only make them slower, less athletic, and less dynamic defensively. If that happens at all, everything that makes them above average is gone.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i don’t really care if they get Kevin Love. As long as they are in the conversation. Being a name that it is in the running for a big name pays off in residual offers and press.

  • Saleem Rainman

    i agree, but judging by comments by suns fans on Brightsideofthesun, what they’re suggesting is bringing him on along slowly,off the bench for 25 or so mins behind plumlee as a scoring option off the bench, and as a verteran presence, then in the playoffs, when the game gets slower anyways, start him as an experienced low post scorer who can drop 20 and 10. Needless to say they are not against it, what do u think of that idea?

  • Saleem Rainman

    late first rounder coming from indiana isnt such a big deal for phoenix, cuz they already have washingtons pick and one more pic (i forget which team, and im not sure if they have their own on top of that) but holds a lot more value to a team like the Lakers.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i think putting him above any of the younger, more long term type plan players at any point is a huge mistake. I’d rather not rock the boat. If he’s coming off the bench to steady the rotation like you said, that’s fine. But if he ends up starting at any point, i think that does more harm than good.

  • Saleem Rainman

    is adding the draft pick (or picks?) a deal breaker for u?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i’m ok with Indiana’s pick (barely). but not more than that. i just don’t get why you are trying to top out on something that is already a success?

    this is my thought process once you get into the territory of giving up assets,

    - is Pau going to win you a championship?
    - is he a long term asset?

    if not,
    - then why give up future plans to make yourself slightly better today?

  • LakeShow

    Great points man.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i appreciate it sir. it helps that i’m exposed to such a large amount of Suns related chatter. — and for the record, most of the people i know who hear Suns related news are convinced McDonough is just trying to align himself with the Kevin Love race, as tired as i am of the rat race, it’s just what is constantly going around.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    How many times have they almost traded Gasol since 2011? Damn.

  • Tarzan Cooper

    which is exactly why they shouldnt give it up, not for pau at least. they might be able to get something good. or maybe get a few decent years out of pau? maybe he will play great. who knows?

  • Wings23

    Phoenix Suns med staff got dis

  • Caboose

    If only Orlando read this after their Finals appearance…f*ckin Vince Carter…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol, i’d be more mad about how they handled Rashard Lewis, Brandon Bass, Jameer Nelson, Marcin Gortat, and Ryan Anderson ….. honestly.

  • Caboose

    Well, I couldn’t rant about all of them at once…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i just love the opportunity to list all the boneheaded sh*t Orlando has done over the last 5 years aside from fumbling away Dwight’s career, i’m sure i missed a couple. but i welcome the challenge.

  • Caboose

    Oh it’s a f*cking lot. FRAN VASQUEZ HAPPENED.

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    Or starting a out of shape still hurt Jameer nelson in the finals when rafer alston got them there.

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    Hedo, the second time.

  • bill

    How do you treat the player most responsible for your last two titles? Tease him about fading him each and every trade deadline, and give an old sidelined warhorse a huge payoff for two years.

  • bill

    fading=trading

  • The Seed

    He played his best in the last NBA finals series, he costed the Lakers the 1st NBA Finals and he costed the Lakers getting swept by Mavs that year. Do you watch Laker’s games.

  • The Seed

    Bledsoe is a tough emerging star and with Pau Gasol added to that team could surprise some teams in the West. Suns struggle in the low post.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah he ties into that Marcin Gortat one. The money spent on Hedo wasn’t really “their” decision, so I didn’t include it. But, semantics, he’s a glaring mistake either time.

  • LouisVuittonDon

    The suns become a threat in the playoffs with pau..100% of their offense is pick and rolls/corner 3′s and that will maybe get you out of the first round in the east..pair that with a low post presence(pau) who is as unselfish as they come, to the expense of slowing the pace down somewhat, can get you past the 1st round in the west, which would make the suns better.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Oh, ok

  • nestazhe265

    My Uncle Caleb just got red Ford Focus ST by working off of a computer.
    try this J­u­m­p­9­9­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • RunNGun

    Now why would the Suns do this to help their division rival?

  • RunNGun

    This is why Pau is gone from LA this summer. Tellem made it happen.

  • Junkie

    How does breaking down their advantage over teams by adding Pau equate to helping them get out of the first round?

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    I actually thought he played up to the worth of his first stint with them. They actually reminded me a bit of Cleveland. Trying anything to get wins now so there star would stay.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he was a positive for them the first stop, but they handled his situation like crap and ended up losing him at the height of his effectiveness only to bring him back after his prime on an over inflated contract. basically they hit gold with him only to let him get away from them, only to shoot themselves in the foot with his contract a couple years later.
    .
    they pulled the parachute too early the first time, and then said “f*ck the parachute” the second time. that’s why i say both times were a failure.

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    I thought were smart to let him walk the first time. Toronto was willing to overpay him and he wasn’t worth that much money. However, they obviously didn’t realize they were smart and took him back.

  • nbk troll

    Lakers need to clear Cap Space and tank so they can have Melo, Bron, Kobe, and Wiggins!!! PS. Phill Coming back for that

  • Interdico Scriptor

    What’s the earliest date this exact headline appeared. I’m guessing 2009. @Lakeshow.. what do u remember as Pau’s first rumour extravaganza?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    imo they should have negotiated an extension with Hedo before the deadline during that 2009 season. They could have got him cheaper. But given that they didn’t do that, I agree, they were smart to let him walk.

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