NBADraft.net: The Good: The Lakers needed to add an all-star caliber player to their line-up in order to go anywhere in the playoffs and they needed to do it without giving up anything of value. They did just that when they fooled the Grizzlies into giving up Pau Gasol for little more than table scraps. They didn’t have to give up Lamar Odom or Andrew Bynum, they didn’t even have to give up good, young role players like Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic. All the Lakers had to give up was an expiring contract, a point guard, and a draft pick, none of which they wanted or needed. Gasol played wonderfully as a Laker, averaging his usual 18.8 points, 7.8 boards, 3.5 assists, and shot nearly 59% from the field. He will be very well paid over the next three seasons at a total of $49 million. Considering the team’s contender status with him on the roster, it will all be worth it.
Of course, you can’t talk about the Lakers without mentioning the great play of Kobe Bryant this year. He scored 7 fewer points and took 7 fewer shots than he did during his monster scoring season two years ago, but this time he was able to elevate the team around him into one of the best in the league. By showing a little unselfishness, Kobe was rewarded with an NBA Finals appearance and the MVP trophy. LA was shocked by Boston in the finals and that will only make Kobe hungrier for a championship. He will earn $21.2 million next season and during the following summer, he can opt out of his contract and turn down $47.8 million over two years in order to become a free agent. By the looks of this team, Kobe isn’t going anywhere for a while.