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Basketball / Sports

Potential Gasol trade to Suns hits snag

MINNEAPOLIS -- Trade talks for Pau Gasol between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers have stalled because the Suns feel the asking price is too high for the veteran post player, according to a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to comment on it publicly.

Phoenix could own four picks in the June draft, and the Lakers coveted one of the more valuable two -- the pick the Suns could potentially get from Minnesota or the one they might receive from Washington.

Both picks are protected and will revert back to Washington and Minnesota if those teams stumble. The Wizards' pick is top-12 protected, so the Suns technically own it at this point (17th overall), while the Timberwolves' pick is top-13 protected, meaning Minnesota holds it right now (12th overall).

Phoenix also has its own pick (22nd overall) and Indiana's pick (currently 30th) in the draft, which is considered one of the best in years.

The talks could still resume before the Feb. 20 trade deadline but the Lakers were reluctant to deal Gasol without receiving what they felt was adequate compensation.

To make a trade work with Phoenix, the Lakers would have to take back the expiring contract of veteran center Emeka Okafor, who had not played this season because of a neck injury.

Gasol, 33, is making $19.3 million in the last year of his contract. Okafor is making $14.4 million.

Gasol currently is sidelined for about two weeks because of a strained groin, Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni said Tuesday. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection Monday to help the healing process.

"I will work hard to be back with the team as soon as possible," Gasol wrote on his Instagram feed, adding a photo of the minimally invasive procedure.

He is not with the Lakers for a three-game trip that ends Friday in Philadelphia.

He was off to a terrible start this season but played substantially better last month, averaging 20.8 points and 11.9 rebounds in January.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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