Breaking Down Why Los Angeles Lakers Are Desperate to Trade Pau Gasol

The bumpy, yet very successful relationship between the Los Angeles Lakers and Pau Gasol will almost certainly be coming to an end. It's just a matter of when.

With the Feb. 20 trade deadline approaching, the Lakers are reportedly shopping Gasol for a center who would likely never slip on a purple and gold uniform.

According to's Marc Stein, the Lakers are talking with the Phoenix Suns about a potential Gasol deal:

Sources told that the Suns, among the options being weighed as part of their well-chronicled desire to acquire an established player as they make an unexpected playoff push this season, have been exploring the feasibility of trading for the Lakers' four-time All-Star.

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.

What's the incentive in handing Gasol to a division rival like the Phoenix Suns? Let's take a look.


Expiring Asset

One of the primary reasons the Lakers have been so active in trade talks regarding Gasol is because he's truly an expiring asset.

That's not always true of players on expiring contracts, as they can often be used in sign-and-trade deals or have value as Bird rights free agents who can be re-signed to contracts when the team is over the cap.

None of that should apply to the Lakers and Gasol, though, so long as the Lakers want to create enough cap space to be able to offer a max contract to a free agent this offseason. Given the fact that Kobe Bryant signed an extension that saved the Lakers just barely enough cap space in order to offer a max deal to someone else, it seems like that would be a priority.

That means that Pau Gasol's massive cap ...

About the Author