The "Brothers Gasol" were traded for each other in February 2008.
I’ve been arguing for the better part of three years with uninformed NBA fans and so-called NBA “experts” who have continually excoriated the Memphis Grizzlies for the Pau Gasol trade. If only people would have gazed beyond the surface and actually made an attempt to understand the BUSINESS of NBA basketball, they would have realized that the move had the potential from the start to become a success DOWN THE LINE for the franchise that SUPPOSEDLY “handed the Lakers Pau Gasol” for nothing in return.
The original principles of the trade consisted of Memphis sending Pau Gasol and a second round draft pick (2010) to L.A. for the draft rights to his brother, Marc Gasol, Javaris Crittendon, Kwame Brown and his expiring contract, the contract of retired guard Aaron McKie, and TWO first round draft picks (2008 & 2010).
NBA trades are VERY RARELY about swapping equal talent. Cap space is gold in the free agent era and when teams are attempting to climb out of the league basement, that pot of gold, along with some draft luck, is what is required to help them accomplish that feat. So essentially, the Grizzlies swapped their best player for gold and in the 3 subsequent years following the trade, they have gotten progressively better.
I’ve always sensed that much of the disdain for this trade is rooted in many people’s even greater disdain for the Lakers organization and its superstar guard Kobe Bryant. The fact that the trade provided Kobe and the Lakers with its final piece to yet another multiple championship puzzle has never sat well with many. However, what the “many” SHOULD HAVE and must now realize is that the Memphis Grizzlies were only concerned with making THEIR team viable in the years to come, and not with pacifying “Laker Haters Nation” with the satisfaction of opportunities to further slight the greatness of that organization and the greatness of Kobe Bryant. Now I’m sure that those reading this who are members of the aforementioned “nation” will call me “Laker-Lover”, “Kobe-Lover”, etc, but to those who think that objective praise cannot be heaped on organizations and players deserving of it, you can make a trip to the nearest interstate and go play in traffic. If there are any doubts to my readers, I couldn’t care less about the Lakers organization and any other team outside of Philadelphia. I’ve been a Sixers FAN-ATIC for 33 years and will be a die-hard until I DIE hard. But I do know how to ”call a spade a spade”, and if your hatred for a great player who plays for a great organization is rooted in ANYTHING besides weak, personal feelings of jealousy, you’re not being honest with yourself.
And for the conspiracy theorists who constantly repeat the idiotic theory that Jerry West gave the Lakers Pau to help his former organization win a championship, go do some homework so that you will come to the realization that Jerry West vacated his post with the Grizzlies following the season PRIOR to this deal. Chris Wallace was the Grizzlies GM who made this trade happen and now is the GM enjoying the fruits of his labor with an ever-improving team, because of an unpopular move he wasn’t afraid to make.
The acquisition of and ability to pay most of these guys is due to the Pau Gasol trade
Many only chose to view the trade on the surface level because they saw it as the Memphis Grizzlies handing the Lakers more championships. Did anyone ever stop to realize that it was not the Grizzlies’ fault that the team with the best deal for them was a piece or two away from a championship? If an opportunity to brighten the future of your 13-win franchise presented itself, the state of a championship contender offering you cap freedom should not even have crept into their pattern of thinking. Their ONLY obligation was to look out for the best interest of the Memphis Grizzlies. And I’d love for someone to remind me of the success they had with Pau as their best player. I’d also love for someone to tell me why this trade shouldn’t have been made, without starting your argument off with what it did for the Lakers.
In the long term, this trade netted the Grizzlies Marc Gasol, a tough big man who is a very good rebounder and defender, with a very good offensive skill set in addition to his presence in the paint. Marc Gasol is a career 12.6 points per game scorer and 7.8 per game rebounder, who in 09-10, averaged career highs of 14.6 points and 9.3 rebounds. Javaris Crittendon was traded to the Washington Wizards for yet ANOTHER conditional first round pick. Kwame Brown and Aaron Mckie’s expired contracts (approximately $10 million of cap space) have allowed them to draft, trade for, and pay players, most notably Zach Randolph, a perennial 20 & 10 producer and 2010 All-Star with the Memphis Grizzlies. They ended the 09-10 season $8.8 Million under the salary cap and subsequently locked up their two best players, Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, to 5-year, $80 Million and a 4-year, $71 Million deals respectively. The two first round draft picks acquired from L.A. turned into steady contributors Darrell Arthur and Greivis Vasquez. The Grizzlies selected Syracuse’s Donte Green with the 28th overall pick (from Lakers) of the 2008 NBA draft and traded his draft rights for the rights to Arthur (the 27th overall pick). In the 2010 NBA draft, they selected Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez with the 28th pick acquired from the Lakers.
The New & Improved Memphis Grizzlies
The most ironic part of this whole situation is that the most outspoken NBA detractor of the trade was San Antonio Spurs’ coach Greg Poppovich, who said at the time: “What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension. There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense. I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees all NBA trades. I would have voted “NO” to the L.A. trade.” Well, Coach “Pop’s” #1 seeded Spurs were recently the first invitees to the coming out party of the new and improved Memphis Grizzlies. Watch what you put out into the universe Coach. To be fair to Coach “Pop” however, he did back down off that sentiment publicly. Last year, he acknowledged that the trade did indeed provide Memphis with salary-cap relief and with the emergence of Marc Gasol, was a very sensible deal.
As I explained earlier, their steady improvement isn’t COMPLETELY due to this one deal, but this trade ABSOLUTELY was the trigger to this team getting on the right track. It was a calculated risk that has certainly begun to pay off. Had they not taken this risk, they’d be the same 13-win Grizzlies team they were with Pau Gasol at the helm. So the only question left to ask…“How ya like them now?”
Devin “Dev” McMillan of The War Room, for War Room Sports