Wednesday , Apr , 02 , 2008 Oly Sandor

How Pau Gasol’s Return Changes L.A. Lakers

The Lakers changed the NBA by trading for Pau Gasol. Other western clubs felt obligated to keep pace and made their own blockbuster moves.
Dallas suddenly brought in Jason Kidd. Phoenix quickly traded for The Big Cactus, sending Shawn Marion to Miami for Shaquille O’Neal. Even San Antonio got in on things, freeing the underrated Kurt Thomas from the pain and purgatory of Seattle …

How Pau Gasol's Return Changes L.A. Lakers

My Very Quick AM Take: The Lakers changed the NBA by trading for Pau Gasol. Other western clubs felt obligated to keep pace and made their own blockbuster moves.

Dallas suddenly brought in Jason Kidd. Phoenix quickly traded for The Big Cactus, sending Shawn Marion to Miami for Shaquille O’Neal. Even San Antonio got in on things, freeing the underrated Kurt Thomas from the pain and purgatory of Seattle.

Today, Gasol returns after being off for nine games with an ankle sprain. The Spaniard immediately transforms the Lakers back into contenders; they went 15-4 with the post in the line-up and 5-4 without him.

Here is how Gasol improves L.A.’s season.

  • He brings skill. Gasol’s polished moves give L.A. a second option on offence. Expect 20-10 numbers.
  • Bryant can shoot less and return to facilitating. Without Gasol and Bynum, Bryant has been forced to score more, which may have contributed to recent tensions with teammates.
  • Their bench improves. Gasol’s return means Ronny Turiaf and D.J. Mbenga shift back to the pine, giving the Lakers additional options.

With another All-Star, L.A. will remerge as championship contenders. Like last January, Gasol’s presence once again changes the NBA landscape.

What impact will Gasol have? Get at us in the comment box with your thoughts. Click here to read Oly’s blog and get his daily AM Take.