Lakers Pickup Gasol, Unload Kwame, Javaris
INSIGHT AND ANALYSIS
I like this move. I like a move that plugs a 7 footer and his 19 and 9 to the lineup in one fell swoop. And I especially like any move that ends with Kwame, his $9 mil a year, and his oven mitt hands in a different time zone.
Besides having just about the most awesome-sounding first name ever, Javaris (just say it a few times to yourself aloud—“Ja-VAR-is”—see what I mean—and, sure, “Pau” its own right is a pretty sweet name—like POW!—but it’s no Javaris) Crittenton has shown some spark to breakout as a star, so that’s a loss that could very well come back to haunt us. He has a ton of headroom on his game, but now he can develop on someone else’s dime, while we run for a title today.
Gasol can step right in as a Kukoc to Kobe’s Jordan for nice high-low tandem while also hitting the outside shot. If he eats minutes from perpetual underperformers Odom and Walton, that’s no big loss. We might be a little big man-heavy in the roster when Bynum and Mihm come back, but that’s not a bad problem to have in the West. The European “softness” question (cliché, really) will rear its head, but he can play adequate, if not quite tenacious, D.
The Spanish Gasol may well become the Lakers ambassador to Los Angeles’s large Spanish-speaking community, so long as Mexicans can set aside any lingering hard feelings over that old business with Cortés and whatnot. On the social front, Gasol will slip right in with fellow hirsute Laker Euros Vujacic and Radmanovic. You can just see this trio out on the town in L.A., all hair, limbs and accents, charming the upper tiers of our fair city’s female talent.