According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Phoenix Suns have emerged as a potential trade suitor for Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol.
Twitter link is here- https://twitter.com/ESPNSteinLine/status/430107912573157376
The Suns are reportedly looking to add an established veteran player to help complete their unexpected playoff push.
They have Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract to deal, which is very attractive for teams looking to shed salary. The Cavaliers used Andrew Bynum’s contract to bring in Luol Deng, so the Suns can expect something similar in return.
The 33 year-old center is averaging 17.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 blocks per game this year on 46 percent shooting. He has turned his played up to another notch in January, averaging 20.8 points and 11.9 rebounds per game.
Pau has been involved in many trade rumors throughout the past few years, but has never actually been dealt. He is currently making $19.3 million this year in the final year of his contract.
Why the Suns shouldn’t do it
Team Chemistry: Is risking the unbelievable team chemistry really worth it? This team really gets along well and adding Gasol (not saying he’s a bad clubhouse guy) would certainly risk that.
The System: I personally do not think that Gasol fits in with Hornacek’s offense. Gasol is better for a half-court offense and he will demand the ball in the high post quite a bit. That could mess with the spacing and slow the Suns fast-paced, run-n-gun offense.
Trading away assets: If they have to give up more than Okafor’s expiring contract, then I really hope they are not foolish enough to trade away someone like Goodwin or Len. I would consider Indiana’s first rounder and that’s about the most I’d add with Okafor’s contract and a second rounder or two.
Who he takes playing time away from: Miles Plumlee has done a great job this season, and Alex Len is starting to come into his own off the bench. Adding Gasol likely takes away time from those two, Markieff Morris and even Channing Frye.
Why it could make some sense
As you can tell, I would not be a fan of adding Gasol, but I’ll go ahead and play devil’s advocate here and argue why it could work out.
For one, adding Gasol’s expiring contract would not have any type of long-term risk involved. If Gasol comes and fits right in and the Suns do well with him, then they could look to re-sign him as a free agent. If he’s not a good fit, then you simply let him walk and pursue other free agents this summer.
If the Suns can manage to land him for Emeka Okafor, Indiana’s first round pick, and a second round pick then the only asset you’re giving up long-term is that late first rounder that will likely be in the 28-30 range. It’s risking the team chemistry that I worry about most here.
All in all, I think this is just speculation to show that the Suns have ammo to acquire a top-level player and are actively shopping the trading market. I do not think we will have to worry about seeing Pau Gasol in a Suns uniform anytime soon.
Other rumored potential trade targets: Jeff Green, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, and Avery Bradley.
I think it’s best for the Suns to just stay the course, build with what they’ve got, and keep this young core together to develop for years to come unless the right piece becomes available.