Pau Gasol Traded To Lakers

Kurt —  February 1, 2008

The Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that Pau Gasol has been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton and first round picks in 2008 and 2010. If this is true, this is a huge win for the Lakers. Updates will be flowing as they come in.

UPDATE# 1: The LA Times now confirms it.

UPDATE — Pau Gasol Scouting Report.

I’m doing this on the fly and there likely will be more updates as the day goes on, but here is your first blush.

He is 7-0, 260 and has that beard made famous by Serpico.

On offense, Gasol has the kind of well-rounded game that seems to come out of Europe. He is shooting 50.4% (eFG%) overall — 55% of his shots are classified as “Jumpers” and his shooting 40% on those, very respectable for someone his size. In close his shooting percentage jumps to 66.3%. He can pass the ball well — 13.7% of his possessions used end in assist for someone else. He doesn’t turn the ball over much (just 9.4% of possessions). He moves well without the ball.

So far this season he as asked to defend opposing centers almost exclusively, according to 82games.com. Those centers are shooting just 48.5%, with a slightly above average PER of 16.8. Gasol is not a great rebounder, but he doesn’t need to be when the Lakers have Bynum and Odom on the floor.

Here’s how Henry at TrueHoop saw it this morning:

As Kurt Rambis explained the other day, a key element of the triangle is that, thanks to spacing, movement, and observation, every Laker should be eligible to receive a pass at all times.

That lets the offense quickly identify and attack weak spots in the defense, wherever they may be. And a mobile seven-footer who can turn just about any defensive mistake into a bucket would be an attractive option to mix in with Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum. As the ball moves around that offense there are an infinite number of ways the Lakers might end up with a good shot.

While Andrew Bynum is out, Gasol becomes the go-to big man, who might keep the team afloat in the tough Western standings. When Bynum returns, the triangle and all the attention defenses pay to Kobe Bryant just might keep the Lakers from the Zach Randolph/Eddy Curry double post conundrum. One of them would have a makeable shot every time down the floor. A system with actual ball movement (as distinct from New York) might help the scorers actually get the ball when and where they can use it.

UPDATE #2: According to ESPN.com, Aaron McKie is part of this deal to make the salaries match, and will be bought out. Man, I need his retirement plan. Also part of the deal is Marc Gasol, the younger brother of Pau, making it the very rare trade of brothers.

UPDATE #3: I’ll be throwing up links all day, here’s the thoughts from personal favorite KD at Yahoo:

My initial thought? The Lakers are going to win a championship.

My second thought? The Lakers are going to win a championship.

Why can’t I break away from that thought? They probably won’t win a championship, but it’s an argument I’m having a tough time talking myself out of right now.

Gasol can play. He can really, really play. He’ll be perfect in the apex of Los Angeles’ Triangle Offense, hitting cutters with passes and making it easier on himself to score in the low or high post as opposing defenses try desperately to keep up with all the off-ball movement.

Gasol can’t defend much, but in a long-armed lineup with Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant, and Derek Fisher; this won’t matter.

Another favorite TZ (Tom Ziller) has great stuff up over at Fanhouse.

The front court lineup now in Memphis: Kwame Brown, Darko, Jason Collins. Wow that’s a lot of guys who can’t score. And poor Crittenton is now on the back of a bench of a team with too many guards. That roster is going to see a lot of shakeup.

UPDATE #4: Damn, it’s a good day to be a Lakers fan. Just enjoy this. Moments like this are what make being a fan so much fun.

Just wanted to say that.

UPDATE #5: First, John Hollinger weighs in, says this is better than any Kidd deal, and call the Lakers the favorites in the West when healthy. It’s an insider piece, so pay for it, but here are the two key graphs for me:

Yes, he’s a little soft. He’s also one of the quickest 7-footers in the league and can shoot, handle and pass. That last item is important — he’ll share the ball and play nice with Kobe, and he’ll be very effective from the high post in the triangle while Andrew Bynum takes the low block.

As for the soft part, that should be a lot less of an issue now that he’s finally surrounded by big guys who can handle the dirty work. His softness was a much bigger problem on a Memphis team laden with other softies than it will be if Andrew Bynum and Ronny Turiaf have his back

And now a quick thought from commenter James Hastings:

“When was the last time a team’s worst player was traded for another team’s best player?”

Kurt

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