Suns should trade for Gasol but only in right deal

Sunday, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns are engaged in trade talks centering around Lakers forward Pau Gasol.

Gasol has been the lone consistent cog for the Lakers, leading LA in points and rebounds per game while starting in all of his 44 appearances this year.

If the Suns want to make a run this season, they will need to add some experience to the team in preparation for the final stretch of the season. The Suns cannot, however, mortgage their future for a run they weren’t even supposed to make.

 
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For the trade to be worthwhile, the Suns would have to trade the expiring contract of injured center Emeka Okafor. In addition to the expiring contract, the Lakers will probably want an asset in return for their star forward.

In December, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said in December that the team is open to trading at least one of its possible four first-round picks in the 2014 draft. While the notion is noble, the Suns should not make any drastic moves that may or may not pan out.

Gasol will be a short-term rental for this season before the Suns let him walk, because he will be asking for more money than the team is willing to spend on him.

For Phoenix to make a move for a player like Gasol, it has to be a low-risk, high-reward move that does not give up a player such as Gerald Green, but entices the Lakers enough to take their best player currently in the rotation.

If the swap happens, the Suns could make some serious noise in the NBA playoffs and build a great foundation of winning for the next crop of Suns coming in the draft this summer.

Reach the columnist at mtonis@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger