I don't care how many more times someone other than Kobe takes the final shot in a game, I can't believe what just happened right now. The Lakers just got Gasol. Not Marc Gasol. PAU GASOL. And they gave up pretty much nothing to get him. Mitch Kupchak, thanks for coming. The Lakers got Gasol for Kwame Brown, his expiring contract and small hands, Javaris Crittenton, the rights to Marc Gasol, Aaron McKie, (who's retired) and first round picks in 2008 and 2010.
ESPN's resident Laker hater Ric Bucher reports Andrew Bynum might be out longer than expected, so Gasol will play center until Bynum's eventual return, and then shift to power forward. The Lakers potential starting lineup will be Fisher/Kobe/Odom/Pau/Bynum.
Now that is a championship contending lineup, which also means Kobe is much more likely to stick around in the future.
Pau's career numbers are 18.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, and 1.84 bpg. He has three years at about $14 million a year left on his deal following this year. He also averages 3.1 assists per game and is a good passer who should fit right in to the triangle offense because he prefers to play at the elbow, one of the trigger spots in the triangle.
After Lebron dropped 17 4th quarter points (37 total and 14 rebounds), single handedly carried the Cavs to a comeback win over the Blazers even though Portland had an 11 point lead with 4 minutes left, and did it while jawing with a courtside Portland fan ala Reggie Miller and Spike Lee, I had the following conversation with my buddy Hoosh:
Lebron to ESPN's sideline reporter after the win: "This is the second time a fan has cost the home team a win."
Change the playoff format: Everyone knows the Eastern conference is a complete joke. So something should be done. My vote goes to a new rule that says no team below .500 is allowed to make the playoffs. So in this year's case, Atlanta (18-24), who just lost to the Clippers, and New Jersey (19-26) who currently hold the No. 7 and No. 8 slots, respectively, would be bumped and replaced by Portland (26-19) and Houston (25-20) who have the No. 9 and No. 10 spots in the West.
Reseed all 16 teams by record regardless of conference, and make the 1st round a three game series, the second round a five game series and seven for the conference finals and finals.
This would never happen but it sure would be more fun to watch than seeing Boston sweep New Jersey and Detroit sweep Atlanta while Brandon Roy and Yao Ming watch at home.
Is Chase's draft stock slipping?
Here's what ESPN's draft expert Chad Ford had to say about Arizona's sophomore guard.
"Budinger finished last season ranked No. 9 in our Top 100 and has used this season to solidify his ranking in the top 10.
Budinger has all the tools to be a dominant swingman in the NBA. He is tall, athletic, has a killer jump shot and can jump out of the gym.
But after a good freshman season, scouts are currently scratching their heads a little as to why Budinger isn't more dominant. He has all the tools to be the man in Arizona, but he's often overshadowed by freshman Jerryd Bayless.
Part of Budinger's problem is that he still lacks a solid in-between game. He takes a lot of 3s and gets it going to the basket ... but he lacks the ballhandling skills to create more for himself. And although he's a freak leaper, he doesn't always use his athleticism in his game.
Still, scouts say Budinger has a chance to be special as a pro. He looks like a lock to be a top 10 pick in the draft."
Cats win 4th straight: Maybe Budinger read the above update of his draft stock, because he went off against USC with plenty of scouts in attendance. He dropped 29 and had 8 rebounds in an 80-69 win over the Trojans improving Arizona to 5-3 in the Pac-10.
The Wildcats seemed like the perfect opponent for USC's triangle and two. But while the Trojans did a nice job against Jerryd Bayless, who finished with 10 points on 4-9 from the field, the forgotten man, Jawann McClellan stepped up big.
The senior scored a career high 23 points, had eight 8 rebounds and 2 blocks, and played all 40 minutes.
Up Next: at UCLA 6 p.m. PST ESPN
CSUN wins 7th straight league game: My Daily News article on the Matadors survival against UC Irvine.
As always, an updated Lakers +/- (through 44 games) Lakers: 28-16 6th in West
Up Next: at Toronto Friday 4:00 p.m. PST KCAL