Updated 10:09 AM EST, Fri, Jan 15, 2021

NBA Trade Rumors 2014: Los Angeles Lakers Could Trade Pau Gasol to Phoenix Suns for Emeka Okafor

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Pau Gasol is on the trading block again as recent reports suggested that the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns are exploring a possible trade involving the veteran center, who has been a subject of trade rumors for the past few seasons.

ESPN reported that the Suns are looking for an established veteran, who can strengthen their chances of making an impact in this year's playoffs. The Suns were originally viewed as a rebuilding team, but they have shown improvement this season that could be enough for them to advance to the playoffs.

The Suns are reportedly planning to offer Emeka Okafor to the Lakers for Gasol in a salary-dumping trade. It is almost similar to the discussion the Lakers had last month with the Cleveland Cavaliers about a trade involving the cap-friendly contract of Andrew Bynum.

Acquiring Okafor and his $14.5 million expiring contract will put the Lakers less than $3 million away from avoiding paying luxury tax hits this season. The savings are far lower than what they could have saved had they reached a deal to acquire Bynum last month—a deal that could have helped them save $20 million in salary and taxes.

Similar to the unsuccessful attempt last month, the issue of future assets could be the biggest factor in whether or not a deal will be finalized before the deadline. Aside from Okafor's expiring contract, the Lakers are expected to ask for future assets such as picks and young prospects.

The Suns might be willing to trade future assets in order to get an established star like Gasol, who is averaging 17.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game this season.

In December, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said that Phoenix was willing to package picks and expiring contracts to acquire a superstar.

Aside from their own pick, the Suns also have a top 14 protected pick from the Indiana Pacers, a top 13 protected pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and a top 12 pick from the Washington Wizards.

"Our preference would probably be to maybe package a few of them. We're obviously all looking for stars and we feel like we can put together a package as good, if not better, than any other team in the league if and when a star becomes available," McDonough said of packaging their draft picks in a trade for a superstar.

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