Mar 25, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16, right) and Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) during the game at the Staples Center. The Grizzlies defeated the Lakers 102-96. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The Swap of Two Brothers

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It was 2008 and the Lakers were trying to get back into the championship contenders they always seemed to be. Kobe was doing everything he could; he was averaging 28 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds all while shooting 46 percent from the field. Andrew Bynum was starting to play to his potential —  averaging a double-double isn’t too bad for a 20 year old. Lamar Odom was the only legitimate option for the Lakers — he was also averaging a double-double. The Lakers needed one more big-time player. Being the Lakers, they went out and did just that.

On February 1, 2008, the Lakers traded Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, cash, two first round picks, and the rights to Marc Gasol for Pau Gasol and a second round pick.

At the time of the trade, Pau Gasol was averaging 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks. On the other side, Kwame Brown was averaging about six points and six rebounds and Javaris Crittenton was posting three points, one rebound, and one assist.

Many people were angry at the trade. “How could the league let this through? An All-Star for some late picks and a few scrubs? What a joke. The league is rigged.” Okay, I’m not sure the last one was said, but I bet a few people thought it. In short, a lot of people didn’t think the trade was fair. I’m sure those people don’t think the trade was so bad looking back on it now.

After acquiring Pau that season, the Lakers made it all the way to the Finals, but were stopped short by the rival Celtics. The next season the Lakers went on to win it all with Pau and Kobe leading the way in the playoffs. In 2010, the Lakers were able to get revenge on the Celtics for 2008 — many people argued Pau Gasol should have won the Finals MVP over Kobe. I think both deserved it, but only one can get it and they gave it to the bigger name.

Pau is still playing well, but his last season was affected by injuries. There have been many rumors about what is going to happen with Gasol and whether or not he will be traded. The rumors get annoying, but I will gladly take the rumors if it means winning back-to-back championships.

At the time of the trade, the Memphis Grizzlies were struggling. They had back-to-back years of a 22-60 record and the next year they only won two more games. The front office had not been making very good draft picks (Hasheem Thabeet at number two overall comes to mind) and things weren’t looking great.

In the 2008-2009 season, Marc Gasol was a rookie on the team. He averaged 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. Not bad for a rookie.     The next season, Zach Randolph was acquired and played great for the Grizzlies; the inside game of Randolph and Gasol with the perimeter game of Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo was enough to improve the Grizzlies record by 16 wins. That was just the beginning.

2010-2011: The Grizzlies first time in the playoffs in five years. The team was known for their “Grit and Grind” way of playing. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph had become a force in the paint together. Gasol’s stats weren’t the best, but statistics don’t say everything about a player.

Marc Gasol gained a lot of attention this season after leading the Grizzlies to the fifth seed in the Western Conference and winning the Defensive Player of the Year award. The Grizzlies are now playing in the Western Conference Finals after beating the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

I would say the trade has benefited both teams — just in different ways. The Lakers won in the short-term, while the Grizzlies won in the long term.

Who do YOU think won the trade of the two brothers? Let us know down below!

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Tags: Los Angeles Lakers Marc Gasol Pau Gasol

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