If the deal can indeed be made, it would be a match made in heaven for the Suns on a number of different levels. They literally could have their cake and eat it, too.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com first reported the potential deal, which is based around the Suns sending Emeka Okafor's expiring contract to the Los Angeles Lakers for Gasol. Although Gasol makes more, the Suns have the room to pick up the extra salary this season.
The Lakers almost certainly will want a draft pick from the Suns, perhaps one of their first-round picks in the 2014 NBA draft. Truth be told, middle-round draft picks are always a crapshoot, so the idea that the Suns could pick up a known commodity is a very enticing thought.
Gasol could step in and immediately start at the power forward position, next to Miles Plumlee. This would move Channing Frye to the bench, which would instantly upgrade the offensive punch from the second unit. It would also lessen the need for both Markieff and Marcus Morris to play extended minutes.
Some balk at the idea of acquiring Gasol because of his recent history of being injured and his spotty play. All he's done in January is average 20.8 points and 11.9 rebounds. He does have a minor groin injury, but there's no reason to believe it won't heal quickly.
Gasol's defense has never been a strong point, but the idea of having Gasol and Plumlee manning the paint could work. Both are long and can wreak havoc in the passing lanes. Having Gasol playing at the power forward means he won't be pinned beneath the basket against players who will tire him out with more physical play.
In the bigger picture, acquiring Gasol means the Suns won't hurt their cap availability for next year, should a better situation come along. They would be essentially giving Gasol a tryout, to see how he fits with the other guys and the within head coach Jeff Hornacek's system.
The Suns are no longer tanking. They've completely changed directions to a team that's aiming to make noise in the playoffs. They're only 3.5 games back from hosting a playoff series. Acquiring a playoff-tested veteran like Gasol for next to nothing would be a jackpot.
Pull that lever, Ryan McDonough.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the Sports Illustrated/Fansided NBA site HoopsHabit.com and the Arizona Sports site HeatWaved.com. He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic. Follow me on Twitter @DunlapNBA.
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