Wow, things really took a turn last week in the NBA didnt they? First, the
Lakers hit the lottery and got Pau Gasol for basically nothing (i.e. Kwame
Then the Phoenix Suns pulled one of the most shocking trades in recent
history, by shipping off Shawn Marion for Shaquille ONeal.
How do these moves shake up the Western Conference? First of all, I can bet
that a lot of teams in the West are absolutely furious at the Memphis Grizzlies
for pulling a Kevin McHale-esque move by and giving up a lot for a little.
Gasol, a career 19 and 9 guy, gives
the Lakers a post player who can hit a 15-foot jump show and more importantly,
can command a double team. Any big man who can command a double team will give
guys like Kobe
and D-Fish open jump shots all day.
And you know Pau
has no problem playing second fiddle to Kobe.
That is the good thing about acquiring an All Star from a losing team. They are
so happy to be out of their losing situation that theyll happily defer to the
stars on their new team – which Im sure Kobe would have no problem with. Kobe has definitely had
more bounce to his step on and off the court since the Lakers pulled the
trigger on Gasol. Bryants confidence is at an all time high and that is not
good news for the rest of the west.
I like the trade. I think when Bynum comes back, they have the tools to make
a serious run at the title, and this is good for the league. I think the league
and most people want to see a Lakers and Celtics NBA Final. And after what Phoenix just pulled, that
might not be too far fetched.
Speaking of Phoenix, is it just me, or did this trade make absolutely no
sense? Okay we get it, Shawn Marion was unhappy and there were probably factors
that were going on behind closed doors regarding the Matrix. But for Shaquille
ONeal? It is one thing if the Suns traded for someone like Andrei Kirilinko or
Richard Jefferson, someone who would fill in the lanes and play the uptempo
Phoenix Suns basketball. But doesnt getting Shaq contradict that whole
If this going to work for Phoenix, they are going to have to play a whole
new system of basketball. The good news for Suns fans is Shaq can still demand
a double team and the Suns have some good perimeter shooters. Also, he is big
enough to defend the likes of an Andrew Bynum or a Tim Duncan. Plus, Shaq is
not a happy camper. He knows people are criticizing his ability, so you know hes
got a big chip on his shoulder and is dying to prove people wrong.
But regardless, I still think this was a mistake. Banking on Shaq to mesh
with Nash and Amare is a huge gamble. Why jeopardize the chemistry they already
had? I agree with what Michael Bivins predicted in his last blog – this was the
was to get over the hump. Now, Im not so sure.
These final 30 games are going to be really interesting. All these big
trades and free agent signings are far from done. Remember, there are still a
few weeks until the trade deadline, so you never know where guys like Jason
Kidd, Jermaine ONeal or Kirk Hinrich might end up. After what weve seen this
past week, anything can happen!