01 February 2008

Woohoo! Woohoo! Woohoo!

This news deserves three woohoos!

Pau Gasol is coming to the Lakers for Kwame Brown and Javaris Cittenton (plus draft picks and other contracts). That's a huge upgrade for the Lakers, and when Bynum comes back, Gasol can play as a forward, in either the small forward or power forward slot. When everyone's back, the Lakers could have a starting five of Fisher, Bryant, Bynum, Odom and Gasol. That's a formidable starting line-up that could cause any other team fits on how to guard all those guys. Add to that a 2nd team of Farmar, Ariza, Mihm, Turiaf and Radmonivic with minutes for Vujacic and Walton depending on match ups, and you have a deep, young and athletic team, with a ton of great shooters, and enough players who play defense where they can stop teams when they need to. That's a 12 man roster that matches any other team, and other than Fisher, they are all under 30 and half of them are under 25. They may not have enough time with all their players healthy this season to challenge for the championship, but this team should be a championship caliber team for the next half decade.

Memphis didn't do too badly for themselves, either, this wasn't a Minnesota style fire sale. Brown has a huge expiring contract which makes them a player for a free agent, Crittenton could turn out to be a very good big point guard for a lot of years, and they picked up 2 first round draft picks.

During the off season many folks wanted GM Kupchak's head on a platter. Now, assuming Gasol gets up to speed quickly and performs well during the playoffs, he should be a candidate for GM of the year.

Here's my prediction, New Orleans (or at least the Hornets franchise, as they may move again in this time period), Portland and the Lakers will make up the teams that will be paired against each other for the next 5 seasons after this one in the Conference Finals. Dallas is getting old, Phoenix is getting old, and San Antonio is downright decrepit. Utah, Houston, Denver and Golden State will put together some good teams in that time, but not make the Conference Finals.

Good, good times to be a Lakers fan, again.

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