Saturday , Feb , 02 , 2008 Oly Sandor

The Pau Gasol Trade: What It Means For L.A. Lakers, Kobe Bryant, Memphis Grizzlies, & NBA

The Pau Gasol Trade: What It Means For L.A. Lakers, Kobe Bryant, Memphis Grizzlies, & NBA

I never saw this coming. Not for a second. Memphis was supposed to sell Pau Gasol to Chicago, New Jersey or New York. And L.A. was supposed to solidify their supporting cast by trading for Indiana’s Jermaine O’Neal.

That’s what we expected, right? Instead, the Grizzlies sold their All-Star to the Lakers for prospects, draft picks, and expiring contracts. Now the rest of the NBA is in shock. These sorts of mega-trades have far-reaching, league-wide implications that produce several interesting storylines. Like …

The Impact on the Lakers

  • L.A. -with Andrew Bynum, Gasol, Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant, and Derek Fisher- have one of the league’s elite starting units. Most importantly, their front line is big, athletic, and talented.
  • Western powers beware. L.A. is now a legitimate contender. They’re talented, deep, big, experienced, and possess one hell of a coach. With Bryant, they also have arguably the game’s best player.
  • L.A. GM Mitch Kupchak has gone from dunce to genius. Last year, he rightfully passed on trading Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd. He then solidified the point-guard spot by bringing-in Derek Fisher. He then weathered the endless Kobe-drama and resigned Zen-Master Phil Jackson. Best of all, this was achieved under hostile circumstances with the Laker-masses calling for his immediate dismissal.

The Impact on the Grizzlies …

  • Memphis received Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, and two first round picks for Gasol. Not what I’d call equal compensation. Brown will be gone in April when his contract expires, Crittenton could eventually back-up Michael Conley, and the draft picks will be late first rounders.

  • Memphis clears Gasol’s ‘max’ salary, making the franchise attractive to potential buyers. It’s no secret current owner Michael Heisley wants out.

The Impact on everybody else …

  • This isn’t John Paxson’s year. For two years, the Bulls’ GM held off on trading for Gasol, claiming the price was too high. And now, the Lakers acquired the Spanish forward for a drop in the bucket. Could this spell the end of ‘Pax’ in the Windy City?

  • Indiana was hoping L.A. would get desperate enough to take Jermaine O’Neal off their hands. No dice, though.  The Lakers -like most teams- understand O’Neal is tainted goods with an expensive contract.
  • I’m not saying there’s a conspiracy. But David Stern and the suits at head office must be happy. Hate them or love them, it’s good for the NBA when the Lakers are relevant and competitive.

The Impact on Kobe

  • It’s official. With the Gasol trade, Bryant recommitted himself long-term to the purple-and-gold. He even had nice things to say about management and ownership.

Who is impacted the most with the Gasol trade? Get at us in the comment box below or hit us up in our fan forum. Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog.