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ESPN analyst: Suns should have traded for Pau Gasol

LISTEN: Chris Broussard, ESPN NBA analyst

With a possible four first-round picks in the 2014 draft and plenty of salary cap space, the Phoenix Suns were in a
position to make changes to their roster.

Their winning record and current position in the playoff hunt led many to believe they would look to upgrade their roster. Instead, the trade deadline passed without the Suns making a move.

One rumor would have had the Suns acquire Pau Gasol from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Emeka Okafor and a first-round draft pick.

“I would have liked to see the Suns do the deal,” ESPN NBA analyst Chris Broussard told The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “They could have gotten Gasol if they gave up a first-round pick. I thought it was a no-lose situation, granted they hate to part with a first-round pick, but they have so many that I thought it would have been prudent to do so.”

The 33-year-old Spaniard remains a Laker for the rest of the season while the Suns will move forward with what they have. The Suns are 1-1 since the deadline, having beaten the San Antonio Spurs and losing to the Houston Rockets, but Broussard believes the trade would have helped them.

“First of all he’s a versatile player,” Broussard said. “There are people around the league that thought he might have come in and disrupted things, and certainly that’s possible, but he is a versatile player who at least on the surface you would think would be able to fit in what they are doing in Phoenix.

“He’s a free agent and he’s got a $19 million dollar salary that would be coming off the cap. If it doesn’t work out, you could easily just let him walk and actually have more cap room than you’ll have with Emeka Okafor leaving as a free agent. If it did work out, then you could determine if you want to sign him for a couple more years and see if you could build upon that.”

Gasol, a 12-year-vet, spent six and a half seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies before his time in Los Angeles, where he won two NBA championships. In 46 games this season, he is averaging 17.1 points and 10.1 rebounds — almost two more boards than the Suns’ leading rebounder, Miles Plumlee (8.4 rpg).

“I thought it was a no-lose situation but the Suns thought that they were giving the Lakers enough by helping them save money,” Broussard said. “They would have helped them save $12 million dollars and I can understand that logic.

“I think that would have given them a real chance to maybe get to the second round of the playoffs if they get the right matchup, where now if they make the playoffs it’s obviously going to be a tough road to hold if they are in that 7th or 8th spot.”