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Lakers Trade Rumors: Pau Gasol headed to the Phoenix Suns?

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With the NBA trade deadline (Feb. 20) right around the corner, the trade rumors involving Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers are starting to heat up. The latest Lakers trade rumor involves Gasol being shipped to the Phoenix Suns according to Marc Stein of ESPN on Feb. 2:

The Phoenix Suns have emerged as a potential trade suitor for Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, according to sources close to the process.

Over the past few weeks, Gasol has been mentioned in a few different trade scenarios. With the Lakers have no assets outside of Gasol to trade, the team will likely try and pull the trigger on a deal before the upcoming deadline.

According to Stein, the deal could involve injured center Emeka Okafor:

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.

With about two and half weeks left before the buzzer sounds on the NBA trade deadline, the Lakers may find another trade scenario that better suits their needs. It seems at this point in time the team wants to get rid of Gasol's contract simply to save money, but they may also looking for something worthwhile in return.

The current deal being discussed with the Suns is very similar to the one that fell apart with the Cleveland Cavaliers last month. Gasol was on the verge of being dealt to the Cavs in exchange for Andrew Bynum, but the trade fell apart and a deal was ultimately done with the Chicago Bulls for Luol Deng instead.

Along with Gasol being dangled as trade bait once again as the deadline draws near, a few other big-name players have been rumored to be in the Lakers' crosshairs. It appears that Kevin Love may be destined to land with the Lakers in the near future while another All-Star-caliber player may be targeted this summer.

Eric Bledsoe is apparently on a short list of players the Lakers may attempt to sign in free agency, but will have to pay a hefty sum in order to push the Suns out of the discussion. Bledsoe will be restricted free agent with Phoenix likely to have no intention of losing him, especially to a division rival.

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Check out Ryan Ward's articles at Lakers Nation

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