Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gasol Wasn't Only Key Laker Addition Last Year

Everyone knew immediately that the Lakers hosed the Memphis Grizzlies when they dealt Kwame Brown and Javaris Crittendon for Pau Gasol. Gasol has been the perfect compliment to Kobe Bryant and has the team on the verge of their 15th title.

But that wasn't the only hose job the Lakers pulled during last season. A move that was made way under the radar was, ironically, a deal they made with the Orlando Magic. The Lakers dealt Brian Cook and Mo Evans to the Magic for Trevor Ariza.

So the Lakers essentially dealt Kwame, Crittendon, Cook and Evans for Pau Gasol and Trevor Ariza. Four bench guys for two starters that are making a huge difference in these NBA Finals. Mitch Kupchak should get some sort of retroactive award for the larceny he pulled off last year.

Add that to bringing Derek Fisher back before last season ... and they didn't even have to trade for him. All Fish has done is hit two humongous shots in Game 4 of the Finals. And while Shannon Brown isn't a huge member of this championship run, he has had his moments during the postseason (that dunk against Denver keyed a win in the WCF).

If you feel like stretching this out a bit ... that Shaq deal doesn't look all that one-sided either. Yeah, Shaq would win a title in Miami and had some pretty good seasons. But that trade brought Lamar Odom to the Lakers. Odom has showed up and been a huge part of this Finals run. Also, the Shaq trade brought in Caron Butler ... who was dealt for Kwame Brown ... who was dealt for Gasol.

Kupchak also DIDN'T trade Andrew Bynum ... despite a lot of grumblings from fans and Kobe Bryant to do so. And he didn't trade Kobe Bryant despite his demands out of town. In the two seasons since his trade demand didn't get honored, he has had an MVP season and possibly another NBA championship and likely Finals MVP. Kobe also gets an all important jolt to his legacy.

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