As of lately, some reports state that the Phoenix Suns are considering a trade that would include former All-Star forward Pau Gasol. The Los Angeles Lakers have also explored a trade for their Spaniard big man multiple times. Nonetheless, the trade never went through, mainly because the Lakers didn’t find the right offer, the team that would be willing to offer enough in exchange. However, right now, a trade with the Suns seems like a dream scenario for LA. Gasol would also significantly help the Suns in their playoff run. Let’s see why.
The Lakers have failed to find a good trade for Gasol. His fat contract, the decline in his performance and the fact that he is aging, have caused his value to drop. Gasol clearly is not the dominant big man he used to be. The fact that he is unhappy in LA and that the team is tanking this season cause his performance to go even more down. Nonetheless, there is little doubt that he is a quality player and that he could provide much help to a team which is actively chasing a solid run in the playoffs.
Enter the Phoenix Suns.
Phoenix would gladly accept a proven veteran big man like Gasol to help in the team’s efforts for a solid playoff run. The truth is that the Suns lack of a strong presence inside, of a post player and Gasol could easily serve that role. On top of that, the Spaniard center has much postseason experience and would definitely help the young group of the Suns record a better course in the playoffs. So what could the Suns offer to LA?
No, I’m sorry Lakers fans. You won’t see first-round draft picks coming that easy. At least it would be a surprise to see the Suns trading one of their up to four first-round draft picks of the upcoming, star-loaded 2014 NBA draft, for a fading star like Gasol. On the other hand, never say never.
The most probable scenario would be a Gasol – Emeka Okafor trade. This doesn’t make sense, right? Why should the Lakers give away Pau Gasol and receive Okafor in return? The answer is money.
Both players have expiring contracts. With such a move, the Lakers would drop below the luxury tax limit and they would gradually be building their way towards an even lower salary cap moving forward. Of course, Mitch Kupchak could work his magic and find a way to acquire a draft pick from Phoenix, if that is even possible. On top of that, if the Suns continue to emerge, they could offer a contract to Gasol for the next few seasons that he would have difficulties rejecting. After a couple of years of slump in LA, Gasol would be willing to play for an emerging and contending team like the Suns.
For the Suns, Gasol would certainly be a valuable piece. Despite his struggles, Gasol is still a quality 7-footer, who averages 17.0 points, 10.2 rebounds and 46.9 percent shooting from the field. He would also add versatility to the Suns. He could be the strong presence inside, allowing the rest of the perimeter players more space to work with.