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AP: 049e3dfd-2ebc-4f6f-b873-465de5ce5269
Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, right, shoots as Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
At 29-18, Phoenix Suns have certainly been the surprise of the NBA season.

And now, if you believe the reports, they're interested in fortifying their roster for a playoff run.

ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein is reporting that the Suns are exploring a trade for Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol.

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.

The 33-year-old Gasol, a four-time All-Star, is averaging 17.0 points and 10.2 rebounds in 44 games for the Lakers this season -- making him one of only eight players in the league to have those averages this season.

It's important to note that the Suns are not shopping one of their many first-round draft picks, instead dangling Okafor's expiring contract. Okafor has not played a minute this season. The 10-year veteran was acquired by the Suns in October from Washington in the Marcin Gortat trade, but has been rehabbing a neck injury.

Writes Stein:

It's believed that the Suns, knowing that a franchise-type talent is unlikely to become available between now and the deadline, like the idea of acquiring a proven veteran of Gasol's caliber who won't slice into the club's projected cap-space riches in this and future summers.

Vince Marotta, Co-host - Bickley & Marotta, Web Content Editor -

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