4:00pm: The main reason the teams haven’t agreed on a deal involving Gasol is that the Lakers want a pick for this year’s draft that would be higher than what the Suns currently have to offer, tweets Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Phoenix could have as many as four picks, but the best of them would come in at only No. 17 right now. The Lakers are also in the exploratory stage with other teams about deals, notes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
MONDAY, 10:36am: In confirming Stein’s report, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic says the Suns and Lakers have indeed spoken about a Gasol-Okafor swap, a detail that wasn’t initially clear. The discussion is just one of many exploratory talks in which the Suns have engaged, Coro writes.
SUNDAY, 4:41pm: The Suns are exploring the feasibility of a trade for Lakers big man Pau Gasol, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Of course, the big man is on an expiring contract and earning ~$19.3MM for the year.
The Lakers have reportedly been adamant about not compromising their future cap flexibility in any deal for Gasol. As Stein notes, the Suns could use the $14.5MM expiring contract of injured big man Emeka Okafor to get a deal done. Even though there’s a significant gap between their salaries, there’s a disparity of less than $5MM and the deal wouldn’t put the Suns over the tax apron so it would be kosher under the CBA.
The 33-year-old is no stranger to criticism but he has performed reasonably well in the face of another year that’s been chock full of trade rumors. Gasol is averaging 17.0 PPG and 10.2 RPG with a PER of 19.1 that puts him No. 12 among centers. It’s not his best work, but the Spaniard still has plenty to contribute to a contender.
The Okafor idea sounds like it could be of interest to the Lakers, but they had a similar opportunity earlier this year when the Cavs were dangling the contract of Andrew Bynum. The Lakers reportedly backed away from those talks and insisted on getting an impact player in exchange for Gasol.