Suns interested in Pau Gasol trade, per report

Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough hasn’t been shy about how he’ll be looking to improve the roster this season, but it was a matter of who was on the trade market. One of the most obvious players on said market seems to be of interest.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Suns are exploring a trade for Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol.

How does that sound?

More specifically, how does it sounds if the Suns don’t have to give up all that much?

The Lakers were discussing a move with the Cleveland Cavaliers in December that included a swap of Gasol and former Cavs center Andrew Bynum, but Los Angeles was too stingy to allow Gasol to walk for nothing. Of course, the Lakers want to rid themselves of Gasol’s $19.3 million salary, and trading for Emeka Okafor’s $14.5 million expiring contract would do some damage in getting them closer to the luxury tax threshold.

In fact, by lowering their cap number by the $4.8 million difference between Gasol and Okafor’s salaries, the Lakers would actually be saving about $7.8 million when considering luxury tax payments, and that’s not to mention the 80 percent of Okafor’s contract that will be paid by insurance.  Per ShamSports’ salary numbers, that would put the Lakers within about $2.5 million of the luxury tax line. Going below that threshold with an additional move or two would be a huge boon for the Lakers considering the looming repeater tax and the fact that Los Angeles has paid the tax the last two years. Such a deal would eliminate the majority of Phoenix’s remaining 2013-14 cap space.

However, in discussing their options with the Cavs, the Lakers also wanted assets in return.

As you probably know, Phoenix has those available. The Suns have up to four first-round draft picks in 2014. On top of Phoenix’s own, it has a top-12 protected pick from Washington, a top-13 protected pick from Minnesota and a top-14 protected pick from Indiana. That’s not to mention a 2015 pick from Los Angeles that came about from the Steve Nash trade.

Whether it’s picks or a young player or two, Phoenix could find itself with a All-Star caliber player who this season is playing well despite openly criticizing his role within Mike D’Antoni’s offense.

Gasol is averaging 17 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 blocks per game, and he’s still as dynamic of a big man in the game.

And no, this wouldn’t be viewed as the much-complained about upgrade at the power forward spot. Without getting into any players that could potentially go to Los Angeles in a trade along with Okafor’s contract — the majority of Phoenix’s young roster could be involved — the guess here is that the Suns would play Gasol at center.

The Suns want to keep their spacing with Channing Frye or the Morris twins.

Gasol would provide another dimension within an offense that to this point doesn’t have much of an inside-out option. While Phoenix has gone to Miles Plumlee at times to open up the perimeter, Markieff Morris might be their only legitimate low-post threat.

Bringing in Gasol would allow Phoenix to space the floor and create off double-teams.

When Gasol’s contract expires after this season, the Suns would be able to re-sign him while retaining his Bird Rights in such a deal, giving them the option to offer him a lucrative deal if he fits well with a few months in Jeff Hornacek’s system.

Of course, Stein’s report uses the word “exploration” because the Suns potentially see issues with signing a 33-year-old whose been hit by the injury bug in the last two years.

If the Suns don’t have to give up much other than a contract, a draft pick and even a player or two, they might have to ask themselves, ‘Why not?’

Should McDonough and company decide to pull the trigger, it could come down to Los Angeles getting enough in return. So if they’re not looking for a blockbuster deal that nets them an All-Star caliber player in return for Gasol, the Suns could be in a position to make a major move.

Tags: Pau Gasol

  • Dan Smith

    People here have to be delusional to want Nash back..he’ll be lucky to even suit up again lol

  • VeE

    Don’t give up the 2015 Lakers Pick

  • the Gorilla

    Trading a first round draft pick(s) for a 33 year old center when the team is not in contention is inexcusable! l do not like the idea of helping the Lakers financially, when they’re set to make a move at Bledsoe this offseason.

    Though, aginst my better judgment, l would consider Okafor for Gasol straight up. lt would be exciting to see Gasol in a suns uniform, even though, he might only have one good season left after this year.

    l lean toward on keeping our four draft picks & possibly our chemistry.

  • Serek

    Trading for stars not older than 25? How many are there? And how many of them are possibly for the taking?

    Unless it’s a young stud who can run, rebound and shoot threes AND would extend with the Suns, I would not break up the chemistry and mess up rotations. There is only one guy I can think of, and I am not 100% sure on the running part.

  • SarverHater22

    Yes !Yes ! Yes ! To Gasol .
    D’Antoni didnt want Gasol in Phx when he had the chance to get Pau, both Antoni (no d) and Kerr horribly traded Matrix for a washed-up ball-hogging Shaq , if Suns were ever to trade Matrix , it shoudve been for Gasol in o8

  • EBJM

    Five hours after Marc Stein reported that the Suns were “exploring” the possibility of trading for Pau Gasol, Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times reportedthat the Lakers are now engaged in trade discussions with the Phoenix Suns on a Pau Gasol trade.

    According to Bresnahan, “Gasol would be comfortable with a trade to the Suns, eager to prove himself in a new system on a better team, according to a person familiar with his thinking.”

    Did Pau just say that the Suns were a better team than the Lakers? Bresnahan also reports that the Lakers are still aiming to get below the tax threshold to avoid a hefty tax bill this season.

    McD should be able to simply swap Okafor for Pau, Lakers want to save cash and there aren’t any other teams willing to help them out other than Phoenix.

  • EBJM

    The real Al it was just a tongue in cheek joke. Relax and take a deep breath. Nobody here knows what is going to happen until it does or does not happen.

  • vtsunrise

    All NBA players named in this blog are purely fictitious and any resemblance they may have to any characters, real basketball players, politicians, boy scout leaders or drug addicts, derelicts and ne’er-do-wells––and/or any of the above––is purely coincidental.

    Any trade rumors are entirely based on conversations that may or may not have happened involving people who may or may not exist as reported by reporters who may or may not have had a slow news day, and commented on by fans who may or may not have an abundance of time on their hands or are simply bored at the moment, and/or tired of masturbating.

  • HunterSThompson

    Lots of good stuff here!

    Since we have hashed out the general pros/cons of trading for Gasol, what exactly might our roster look like with him in it? Again, I am more bothered by giving up any players and/or picks aside from Okafor than I am about simply having Gasol on the roster. So, does he actually fit?

    He can play either PF or center, and people suggest he fits in at both positions on the Suns. His big bitch with D’Antoni last season was coming off the bench and on a roster of young guys I just don’t see him contributing that way. Therefore, let’s assume he starts at either/both center and PF.

    As a center: Suns starting lineup would be Frye at PF, Gasol at C, Tucker at SF, Green and Dragic at guard. Is Gasol a better interior defender than Plumlee? Stats show them to be almost identical in both rating, defensive rebounding (numbers and %), and defensive win share. Result? TIE.

    On the offensive end the stats remain very similar, with Plumlee actually having an edge in a few. BUT – I readily admit that Pau brings some interesting dynamics in terms of style of play. He is definitely a nice pick and roll guy which would help Dragic a lot for options within the current Suns style.

    He also likes to post up in the slower half court game (where the Suns often struggle to get good shots), even though there is some debate in Laker-land as to just how efficient he is in that role.

    Finally, he gets a nice amount of assists out of the center position passing out of the paint to open shooters. That inside-out angle is one the Suns don’t current have consistently in getting open looks. Gasol looks like he could add to the offensive dynamics in a nice way.

    Throwing Gasol at PF really messes up rotations, and does not look to really be a viable option. Frye would be first off the bench, pushing Kieff down the ladder. It would be hard to get the Morrii on the court together. Assuming no other roster moves are made, this is where I see an upset in current Suns chemistry, despite how great a guy Gasol may be.

    Having said all that and thought about it a bit, it does look and seem like Gasol would be a good fit at Center on the Suns. Plumlee definitely seems like he could return to a bench role if it meant following up a player the caliber of Gasol, and his energy off the bench might really be scary-good with Ish/Barbosa pushing the pace. As much of a fan as I am of Len, I really want the Suns to take it slow with him this season to allow his ankles to get strong and ready for a 10 year run. EBJM is absolutely right that Alex looks to project as a Pau-type player, so learning under him would be an amazing experience.

    Having slept on the possibility, I do like a possible Gasol addition more today than last night. I’m not sure this actually makes the Suns “contenders”, but they do become formidable, and would be a lot of fun to watch. I am intrigued…..thanks for the conversation all!

  • Foreveris2long

    EBJM, funny stuff about being worth a Pau. Green has no doubt stepped up his game but I think the Suns are better with Bledsoe and Dragic than green and Dragic. Real Al Good insight about Gambo’s perspective. While I am not a huge Gambo fan, his take is interesting.

    Back to the trade, if it is just Okufur for Pau, absolutely I think it is worth the risk because I think it makes the Suns better as he would clearly be the best low post scorer on the team and he can reliably hit the 15 footer which keeps the lane open for Dragic. Adding draft picks and players would be against my better judgment because I too doubt the Suns are ready to win the West. It would be possible with a healthy Bledsoe but I question if anyone can accurately state he will return this season and be 100%.

  • Foreveris2long

    VT, almost forgot, good insight about the Suns receiving love on the NBA channel. I did not see it but great to hear someone is noticing outside of Planet Orange. I try and catch that show as much as possible especially since CNN has been a little slow lately.

  • EBJM

    VT have I been leaving my webcam on again?


    ONLY trade For Okafail’s contract. No draft picks for the Lakers, specially since they want to get Bledsoe or make us pay too much for him

  • sunsn7

    If the Suns trade for Gasol, it means the front office is sacrificing the future for a fun n gun run this year.

    And this Suns fan is absolutely against a trade for a RETREAD

  • EBJM

    VT I’ve been auditioning for some of that extra technical writing work that you have been looking to outsource. I’m not used to this arctic freeze that has hit the South and more specifically Houston. It is too COLD do leave the house!

    Besides, Houstonians cannot drive on icy roads, it has been a regular demolition derby out on the streets.

  • EBJM

    How are the Suns sacrificing the future? His contract expires this summer and Phoenix will more than likely only give up one pick to do the deal.

  • vtsunrise

    EBJM, Sorry I didn’t tell you about the webcam earlier. I like to watch. I didn’t know you were left handed!

    Re: technical writing, I divorced the last person who described what I do as technical writing. Actually she divorced me (thankfully). I’m a financial writer.

    Re: Houston – I thought you were in Vegas.

    Re: cold – it’s relative. Move to PHX!

  • SarverHater22

    haha , obnoxious Laker fans wanna steal Bledsoe but it looks like the Suns instead are gonna steal Gasol ! lol

  • EBJM

    VT I thought you had heard when I resurfaced on this site that I made a temporary stop in Houston. I’ve only been here about four months and the weather here is crazy!

    One day it is like Vegas/Phoenix then it turns into Florida. Then suddenly it turns into Anchorage, Alaska! I don’t know how much more of it i can take.

    I only referred to your career as a “technical writer” because those were your words a few years back.

  • DZ

    There are plenty of players I’d rather see the Suns go after than Gasol but he might be the most realistic trade target. And at worst, the Suns would be trading one expiring contract for another and still have a load of cap space at the end of the season.

    It’s not a trade I’d jump at but it’s worth consideration.

  • EBJM

    VT I didn’t know you could become wealthy just writing about money! Kudos! Speaking of earning money I just learned how much some of those reality show stars earn.

    Talk about easy money! Chumlee from Pawn Stars based in Las Vegas was just an employee at that store. He was a childhood friend of the youngest owner.

    He is now worth over $5 million dollars. His girlfriend is this gorgeous Lebanese Chef, Tanya Hyjazi for whom he just gave breast implants to for her recent birthday.

    He said it was the right thing to do because she works hard for her money and he made enough in a couple of hours.

    Only in America!

  • vtsunrise

    EBJM, No one said anything about being wealthy, but I do well in the big scheme of things. It’s a lucrative niche. For freelance writing. But only because I work hard at it.

    Re: the weather, I think it’s been an unusually insane winter for many of us. Counting down the hours until we get fresh snow. About 34 hours +/-…

  • ellensburgbballfan

    The Suns might make this move to show bledsoe they want to win and entice him to resign for less $$$ that’s the only way this deal makes sense long term

    I would rather develop young talent and see where that goes, rather than having a mediocre team every year

    Suns are gonna have to sign bledsoe, sign gasol, and somehow add a third star?

    That’s gonna be hard to do unless they clear out other guys deals like Channing Frye

    And on top of all this, our stars at that point would be playing same position as Goodwin and Len so they don’t develope?

    Unless you can add a young superstar to those 2 guys its not worth it

    We would have to move Frye and take back expiring deals to make that possible

    You could get away with a deep run in the east but not the west with that lineup

  • DZ

    If this deal is made, I doubt the Suns would be counting on Gasol as more than a half-season rental and a boost to hopefully give the Suns a shot at making it to the second round of the playoffs. If Bledsoe returns and can play at anywhere near his former level, I can see that as a very real possibility.

    And that’s not because I think that Gasol would be that much of an upgrade over Plumlee. But having Gasol and Plumlee sharing the bulk of the minutes at the 5 could be a great 1-2 punch at that position. And with Bledsoe back, Green would return to the second unit which would probably be made up of Smith, Green, the M&M twins and Plumlee. That could be a very strong bench.

    I’m not really in favor of this trade but I can see some advantages to it.

    And I was just reading that this is only one of the trade possibilities that McDonough is exploring. The fact that this one has gotten some publicity might actually be because McDonough is using it to send a message to other teams to up their offers.

  • EBJM

    “Suns are gonna have to sign bledsoe, sign gasol, and somehow add a third star?”

    Seriously? Suns currently have one star playing, Goran Dragic. Trading Pau is for the playoff run and he would be auditioning for another contract and he woulod be the 2nd star.

    When Bledsoe comes back from his knee injury he would be the third star.

    Young stars like Bledsoe almost always go for the max contract.

    If Pau decides to stick around he could probably demand what Duncan and Garnett got last year, three years at $36 million. That might be a bit steep except that Frye would be on an expiring $6.8 million deal that McD would probably flip to a team trying to dump salary.

    One of the factors in bringing Pau on board is too help facilitate Len’s development. West simply does not have the skill set that Pau does to help develop Len.

    Goodwin is at least two years away minimum from being productive based on what he has shown this season.

    While I have been known to been unkind to Frye in the past, acquiring Pau would give Frye better looks from the three-point line. Pau is a willing passer as he averaged 3-4 dimes while playing with the Lakers.

  • Solarion

    No!……no,……! NO!

  • Curt

    It is getting crowded down there in the playoff standings, with GS, Memphis and Dallas vying with the Suns. With 35 games left, can the Suns make it without any more help? Lot depends on how they weather upcoming Houston and GS. If Gasol can solidify a playoff spot and contend for at least the 2nd round, then maybe. But not for any players, and certainly try to limit helping Lakers as much as possible.

  • noitallman

    No thanks.

    Gasol does not fit this team in any way. He will kill our chemistry. His ability is past him for the most part. He wants too much money. He probably would not be re-signed.

    Now way we should give up anything beyond Okafor. How can you rent a guy for a few months and give up an asset for him.

    Not to mention stunting Plumlee’s future growth.

    No thanks, we don’t need old guys.

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  • Elviro (Italy)

    Gasol? and why? with him anyway … we will not win the championship and considerably lessen the space important to our youth ….

  • eddie diaz

    I dont think we should make any moves with the lakers .specially any moves that includes trading the twins or frye .we are on the right track with them twins I feel that they will developed to become much better players. I think thats gonna be a huge mistake in trading any of the players we have .we should go after a center without trading any of the twins or frye..