Friday, February 1, 2008

Lakers Get Gasol(ed) Up!

The instant message from my friend Jim came across my phone just before noon Pacific Time today... it said "Gasol traded to Lakers." I was in shock, disbelief and amazement all at the same time!!! One of the leagues' premier forwards in Pau Gasol was coming to my Lakers? I had to pinch myself. I figured that GM Mitch Kupchak must have given up an arm and a leg to the Memphis Grizzlies, but to my amazement, that was not the case. The Lakers gave up two first round draft picks, rookie Javaris Crittenton and Kwame Brown - yes, the Kwame Brown who has been the source of Laker-fan ire ever since the Lakers acquired him in the infamous Caron Butler trade. Well, Laker fans, Kwame is gone!!! And in his place is a perennial all-star. Gasol's been remarkably consistent in his first 6 1/2 NBA seasons, scoring 18.8 points per game, and grabbing 8.6 rebounds per contest. He also blocks 1.8 shots per game.

Kobe Bryant said the trade for Gasol "shows a great deal of commitment from the organization," and that "it's a great step." I would whole-heartedly agree with that remark. Kobe and the rest of his teammates certainly played inspired ball tonight. Bryant scored 46 points on 19-for-28 shooting, including four three pointers as the Lakers routed the Toronto Raptors by a 121-101 score. There was a time when the second game of back-to-back games on the road was a killer for the Lake Show. This is certainly not the case these days as the Lakers covered the spread for the fifth time in six such outings this year.

This was supposed to be a time that the Lakers were going to have to just tread water as Andrew Bynum rehabbed and got back to health. Now, the Lakers just might be able to challenege the Pheonix Suns for the Western Division lead before Bynum comes back. One thing is certain - barring injury, the Lakers will definitely keep the Suns in their sights the rest of this season and beyond. This trade may go down as one of the greatest in all of Laker history!!! I have to say it's been a VERY long time since I've been this excited about the Lakers. Yes folks, SHOWTIME is coming back!!!


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