Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tale of Two Trades

For the Lakers, they got Pau Gasol for 1 cent on the dollar. Kwame Brown’s expiring contract, the draft rights to Pau’s little brother, Aaron McKie’s contract, two draft picks (likely to be late 1st rounders), and Javaris Crittenton.

So basically the Grizzlies gave up their franchise player, a 20 and 10 guy, for a rookie combo guard and two draft picks. No wonder Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was so mad.

There’s no question the Griz could’ve gotten a lot more for Gasol than they did. It appears as if they were looking for young players, draft picks and cap room, not current value (like the Bulls or Nets could’ve gave them).

For Memphis, it assumes that someone would want to sign there. I’d say that’s a bad assumption. For the Lakers, they will now have arguably the best starting lineup in the league when Andrew Bynum comes back.

Bynum at the 5, Gasol at the 4, Odom at the 3 (an all 6’10 frontcourt), with Kobe and Derek Fisher in the backcourt. They still have depth too, with Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar, Rony Turiaf, and Trevor Ariza coming off the bench.

In fact, I think they’ll be the favorites to win the west if Bynum and Ariza make it back this year.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns made one of the biggest head-scratching trades of all time. They shipped disgruntled forward Shawn Marion and bench riding backup point guard Marcus Banks to Miami for Shaq.

This is a trade that makes little sense, especially now. Their thinking is Shaq can defend guys like Tim Duncan, Andrew Bynum/Pau Gasol, and other big men in the west that usually torch Amare Stoudamire.

What Suns GM Steve Kerr didn’t realize is that Shaq is not only washed up, but he’s worst on defense than he is on offense.

One mistake people have made about criticizing this trade is saying he’ll mess up their fast break offense. You don’t need five players to run a fast break. He messes them up in the half court.

Now, the Suns half court revolves around Steve Nash running around making plays, pick and rolls, and everyone staying active around the perimeter. The lane is usually clear, giving Nash opportunities to penetrate and get lay-ups or get open shots for other players.

With Shaq, the lane will now be clogged up. Additionally, you can’t really run a pick and roll with Shaq at this point in his career. Also, he’s just as big of a crybaby as Shawn Marion is about not getting touches.

He still draws double teams on occasion, which could open up the perimeter, but they never had a problem opening it up before.

I definitely understand that somebody had to go between Amare and Marion, but that person really was Amare Stoudamire. They had one of their best seasons the year he was injured. Boris Diaw was allowed to start, where he’s best, and he flourished.

The perfect trade would have been Amare for Rasheed Wallace and another bench contributor. Rasheed can play defense and he can shoot the tree, making him the perfect fit for what Phoenix does.

If they were going to deal Marion, deal him for some one better than Shaq. Get multiple talented players, like Andres Nocioni and Tyrus Thomas from Chicago, get Jermaine O’Neal, get Richard Jefferson, get a Pau Gasol.

Instead, they panicked and traded for Shaq. Good luck with that for the next 2 ½ years.

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