After a failed trade proposal that would have sent him to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this month, the Phoenix Suns have emerged as a potential trade partner for Lakers forward Pau Gasol.
With Gasol out for at least a week with a groin injury, ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that the Suns are interested in the four-time All-Star as they are making an unexpected playoff push this season. One possible option is Emeka Okafor’s $14.5 million salary:
“One option for the Suns, by virtue of their $5.6 million in available salary-cap space, is swapping the expiring contract of injured big man Emeka Okafor for Gasol, even though Okafor’s $14.5 million salary this season falls well shy of Gasol’s $19.3 million.”
Although both contracts are expiring, the $4.8 million difference would be significant for the Lakers as it would drop Los Angeles $3 million away from the luxury tax. If the Lakers make another trade before the February 20 deadline, they could potentially be out of the luxury tax completely.
With the Lakers at the bottom of the Western Conference and the Suns looking to make their playoff push, the trade makes sense for both teams. Although Gasol struggled early in the season, he is averaging 21.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 3.3 in the last ten games.
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