Lakers Trade for Gasol Makes Other Teams Furious
by David Lane Predictem.com
The NBAs Los Angeles Lakers, who suddenly look like favorites in the Western
Conference, recently pulled the trigger on a trade in which they acquired
the extremely talented seven foot All Star Pau Gasol for a handful of no-names
in Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the rights to Paus younger
brother Mark Gasol, and two first round picks, a trade that made most wonder
what the Memphis Grizzlies were thinking. Due to this move, after years
of struggling just to get to the playoffs, the Lakers have realistic chances
of winning NBA championships again. That fact has surely weighs on the mind
of last years NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Greg Popovic, who
remains openly ticked off about it.
After a summer trade which saw the Boston Celtics move most of their bench - five players in all and a 2009 first round pick - including two fine young players in Al Jefferson and Sebastian Telfair to the Minnesota Timberwolves for perennial all star Kevin Garnett, both GMs Celtics Danny Ainge and T-Wolves Kevin McHale got their fair share of heat for working what looked like a homer trade. Since both former Celtics openly had strong desires to see their former team restored to former greatness, everyone knew what they were up too. Regardless, the Timberwolves were in need of some serious changes and since they received quite a bit back in return most became accepting of the transaction as Jefferson and Telfair look like cornerstones of the T-Wolves offense for many years to come, not to mention it’s unknown what kind of talent Gerald Green may offer once the high flying dunking machine gets some NBA experience under his belt.
The Lakers fleecing of the Grizzlies, however, makes the Celtics trade look fair and as impartial as any other. Unless Mark Gasol becomes as good as his brother, then Kobe Bryant should be thrilled with the Lakers front office for this one as he’s been jawing for such a move for years. General Manager Mitch Kupchak certainly couldnt have done much better than Pau Gasol, who creates a major offense presence for the Lakeshow not to mention it creates match-up issues with a front line of Bynum, Odom and Pau.
Not only is Pau quick and agile for a seven footer, but due to his length almost every shot is virtually unstoppable.
Known also on the world stage, he helped his native Spain win a championship in the 2006 FIBA basketball playoffs. Not only does he usually score over 20 points a game but he also boards well, blocks shots, is a high percentage shooter of both free throws and field goals and he even collects assists with his timely passing out of the block. Pau, a center/power forward in sixth NBA season, has become a very versatile, polished and complete player who thrives off of the competition and he continually rises to meet challenges.
There really is no wonder why Popovic is angry about the trade. Although the Grizzlies claim to be dumping salary in order to make the franchise more attractive to perspective buyers, its awfully hard to forget the fact that Jerry West - whose silhouette makes up the NBA insignia - not to long ago stepped down as general manager there. If Ainge and McHale bleed Celtic green then there is no doubt that West bleeds Lakers purple and gold. After his departure, curiously enough, nobody was hired to replace him and team Vice President of Operations Chris Wallace, who has apparently assumed his duties, claims to be trading for the future. Certainly, Wallace isnt a basketball guy which only fuels the possibility that West was pulling the strings.
After Wallace had challenged execs whod spoken out against the trade to go on the record with their opinion, Popovic had this to say, The L.A. move is great for L.A, he told the San Antonio Express-News. What they were thinking in Memphis is beyond comprehension. There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense. Hopefully, the trade committee part was a joke so that the NBA will not become a fantasy league anytime soon. He went on to say that he would elect himself to that committee and then he would have voted no on the trade.
Reading between the lines in these situations is often very telling and what Pops is saying and saying loudly is that this unfair trade is very possibly going to cost him anymore runs at NBA Titles. Not only is this Lakers team loaded with talent, the talent is also very young with a nucleus that could play together for many years. Thus far, early returns have been very telling as the Lakers are a win tonight in Minnesota away from a league record breaking seventh win in nine tries all on the road!
If that isnt proof enough of their resurgence since the trade, theyre 8-1 against the spread in their last nine games overall and 7-1 against the spread in their last eight road games. Over the last three games, Bryant and Gasol have combined to score an average of 56 points and most importantly, their chemistry seems flawless. There is a God! was Kobes initial reaction to his new teammate and it also was very telling.
The NBA has to be enjoying things as it looks as though both the Celtics and the Lakers have re-established their long lost dynasties. What each team has realized is that one terrific player is much harder to find than a bunch of pieces. Coach Phil Jacksons squad has an outstanding core of young players in Bryant, Gasol, Andrew Bynum when he returns and Lamar Odom, that will lead to a lot of wins and will pay dividends in the not too distant future. Throw in seasoned veteran Derek Fisher and a few role players in Luke Walton, Rony Turiaf, a much improved Sasha V. and others and this team looks as if though it has endless potential. The big key here is IF THEY CAN JUST STAY HEALTHY. If so, we may see a team that is in contention for titles year after year thanks to Memphis and their cost cutting hey ways.