I’ve been giddy all day. I keep breaking out into huge grins, pumping my fists – it takes pretty much everything I have not to holler and scream “yes!” in public. So this is how it feels on the other side. This is how Miami felt when they got the most dominant player in the game for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian “$15 million man” Grant. This is how Washington felt when they plucked Butler for Kwame Brown. I’ve never been on the right side of a trade before, at least not this obvious, not this soon. Sure, Vlade for the draft rights to Kobe has become a historical one-sided affair, but it was pretty nonchalant at the time (and even more so after Kobe’s disastrous first year). Sure, Ceballos for Horry worked out well for the dynasty, but at the time, Lake Hasavu was our most explosive scorer, and Horry a guy who – quite literally – threw in the towel (and was probably racist). In recent years, we couldn’t get Jason Kidd. We couldn’t get Kevin Garnett. We couldn’t even get Luol Deng. And because Utah fans realized they were about to be fleeced, we couldn’t get Carlos Boozer. But now, we have Pau Gasol.
Gasol is not the be all end all, of course. At heart, he’s a soft European who hasn’t gotten his team a single win in three trips to the playoffs (0-12). But he’s a guy who can put up 20 and 10. He’s a guy you can depend on. And he’s not Kwame Brown. That’s what this deal is about. It’s literally a hilarious case of the Lakers scrounging around their scrap heap for pennies and pieces of string and random garbage to give to the Grizzlies, so desperate for salary cap relief that they’re pawning off the only thing they have of value. Javaris Crittenton, perhaps the only decent player we’re giving up, made expendable with the play of Derek Fisher and the emergence of Jordan Farmar. Aaron McKie, unofficially retired, and now actually an assistant coach with the 76ers. The rights to Marc Gasol, to add to the hilarity – Pau’s own brother, who had decided to stay in Europe after being drafted, adding yet another notch on the resume of Mitch Kupchak. And of course, Kwame’s expiring contract. No more screaming obscenities at the television for Kwame to catch the ball. No more punching something in disgust when Kwame blows another sure lay-up. Just no more Kwame. What a turnaround. So this is how it feels.