ESPN: 2007-08 Recap
NBA executives are fond of saying it’s the deals they don’t make that often end up being the best decisions, and certainly the Lakers would agree with that sentiment.
It’s hard to remember, in the wake of their conference championship and Kobe Bryant’s MVP season, but when training camp opened, Bryant’s frustration with his supporting cast had him pining for a trade to a team that he viewed as a more legitimate contender. His frustration stemmed from the team’s refusal to trade Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd at the 2007 trade deadline.
In retrospect, much of it seems hilarious — that he wanted to go to the Bulls because he felt they had a better chance of winning the title, for instance, or that he wanted Kidd instead of Bynum — but at the time it was dead serious. Fortunately, Bynum broke out with an All-Star caliber first half of the season, immediately justifying the team’s decision to hang on to him, and the rest of the Lakers’ youthful core began playing dramatically better.
Bynum checked out with a midseason knee injury, but almost immediately the Lakers had an incredible trade fall into their laps. L.A. procured star forward Pau Gasol from Memphis at a cost of two players who weren’t even in the rotation: guard Javaris Crittenton and center Kwame Brown, and three long-term assets — Spanish forward Marc Gasol (Pau’s brother, ironically) and first-round picks in 2008 and 2010.