By Maceo Lester
Now that the extremely hyped NBA All-Star Weekend is finished, teams will now gear up for a playoff run in the second half of the season. Many teams in playoff contention may attempt to shake up their roster or make adjustments that will elevate their chances of a championship run. With big names in the upcoming free agency pool, such as, Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol, several general managers have huge tasks on their hands. Shipping players at the deadline traditionally allows franchises to escape multi-million dollar resign contracts or expensive second contracts for players exiting their rookie contracts.
There are many possible deals that may occur before February 20th deadline. One of the most intriguing rumors is Pau Gasol traded to Phoenix Suns. Gasol hasn’t had any substantial job security in the last few years since he was “traded” for Chris Paul in that blockbuster deal but remained a Laker due to David Stern’s decision, which is still puzzling until this day. It’s hard to believe that Pau can effectively concentrate on basketball and his team with his name continuously being mentioned on the trading block. This would be an ideal situation for the former All-Star, a new beginning is very much needed for a player looking for a chance to rejuvenate his career.
Phoenix has been the biggest surprise team in the 2014 season. A young group, led by former NBA player Jeff Hornacek , are clearly in the playoff picture halfway through the season. A veteran big man may just be exactly what they need to solidify a deep playoff run. Pau Gasol isn’t one the most physical big men, but his championship experience could definitely be used in the locker room and add some leadership to a young roster.
Not only does this trade work situational, the finances add up. The Lakers are over the luxury tax and are obviously looking to create cap space after singing Kobe Bryant to an expensive extension. Phoenix has money to spend and can ultimately save Los Angeles money by taking over Gasol contract and ship Center Emeka Okafor to LA with an expiring contract. Since the Suns WERE in rebuilding stage they have several draft picks that the Lakers may be interested in. The Lakers are currently tied with the Sacramento Kings for the worst record in the Western Conference (18-35.) A championship hogging franchise that isn’t used to rebuilding could use a trade before the deadline that can help them for next season.