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Grizzlies trade Pau Gasol to Lakers




| Feb. 1, 2008

Grizzlies trade Pau Gasol to LakersThe Los Angeles Lakers have acquired forward Pau Gasol in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. The Lakers will also receive the Grizzlies second round draft choice in 2010. In exchange Memphis will receive forward Kwame Brown, guard Javaris Crittenton, guard Aaron McKie (who the Lakers signed earlier today), the draft rights to Marc Gasol and first round picks in 2008 and 2010.

Gasol, a 7th year player out of Spain, is averaging 18.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.44 blocked shots per game this season. The 27 year old 7’0” forward/center has career averages of 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds. A 2006 NBA All-Star and 2001-02 NBA Rookie of the Year, Gasol also won a gold medal with Spain at the 2006 FIBA World Championships while being named tournament MVP.

“We’re extremely pleased to be able to make this trade.” said Kupchak. “Pau is a proven player of all-star caliber in this league who can score and rebound and he’s still a young player. We feel this move strengthens our team in the short term as well as the long term.”

“This deal provides us with a significant amount of assets – two first round picks, the draft rights to Pau’s brother Marc, who has emerged into the top big man in Spain, a talented young point guard in Crittenton and a sizeable amount of salary cap room over the next few years.”

“Michael Heisley (Chief Executive Officer) and the entire organization wish Pau all the best with the Lakers,” Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace said. “He made a tremendous contribution to the franchise both on and off the court. He will be missed."

Wallace: “This deal provides us with a significant amount of assets – two first round picks, the draft rights to Pau’s brother Marc, who has emerged into the top big man in Spain, a talented young point guard in Crittenton and a sizeable amount of salary cap room over the next few years.”

Memphis will receive two protected first round draft picks from the Lakers in 2008 and 2010, while the Lakers will receive the Grizzlies’ 2010 second round pick.

Entering his seventh NBA season, Brown owns careers averages 7.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 22.1 minutes in 389 games (185 starts) with the Washington Wizards and Lakers. The 6-11, 270-pound pound forward/center was the first high school player ever selected first overall (Glynn Academy H.S.) when the Wizards took him the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NBA Draft.

Brown, 25, was averaging 5.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 23 games (14 starts) this season. He posted career highs of 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in 30.3 minutes in the 2003-04 campaign with the Wizards.

Crittenton, the 19th overall pick in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft, is averaging 3.3 points, 1.0 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 7.8 minutes in 22 games this season as a rookie. The 6-5, 200-pound guard scored a career-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while handing out a career-high tying three assists, in a career-high 24 minutes vs. Philadelphia on Jan. 4.

The 20-year-old helped Georgia Tech to a 20-12 record and berth in the NCAA Tournament as a freshman last season. He finished his career with the Yellow Jackets averaging 14.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.0 steals in 32 games played.

McKie, a 13-year NBA veteran, averaged 7.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers and the Lakers. The 6-5, 209-pound guard signed with Los Angeles on August 26, 2005, but played in only 24 games with the Lakers in his final two seasons.

Marc Gasol, Pau’s younger brother and the 48th overall pick in the 2007 Draft, is currently playing for Akasvayu Girona (Spain). The 7-1, 280-pound center was a part of the gold-medal winning Spanish National Team at the 2006 FIBA World Championship along with brother Pau and current Grizzlies rookie guard Juan Carlos Navarro. Marc, 23, played high school basketball for Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis.

The only All-Star in franchise history (2006), Pau Gasol holds career averages of 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.8 blocks in 476 games in eight seasons with the Grizzlies. Gasol is the franchise’s all-time leader in 12 statistical categories, including points (8,966), rebounds (4,096) and blocks (877).

In 39 games this season, Gasol has averaged 18.9 points, a team-high 8.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.44 blocks while shooting 50.1 percent in 36.7 minutes per game.

The third overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft, Memphis acquired Gasol from the Atlanta Hawks along with Lorenzen Wright and Brevin Knight in exchange for Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Gasol, 27, went onto win the 2001-02 NBA Rookie of the Year Award and led the Grizzlies to franchise’s first three playoff appearances in 2004, 2005 and 2006. editor says: The Lakers were already a good team before, but not a championship contender. This pushes them much closer to the top of the league. Gasol should fit perfectly in Phil Jackson's offense. The Lakers lose a little bit of defense with Kwame Brown going, but what they gain on the offensive side is far greater. With Andrew Bynum out, Gasol will probably play center. Once Bynum is back he'll play center, Gasol power forward, and Lamar Odom, who can play either of the forward spots, will probably move to small forward, and also slide up to the four when Gasol or Bynum sits. This gives Lakers an absolutely fantastic core for years to come.

As for the Grizzlies, they obviously recognize the need to rebuild and wanted to part ways with Gasol's big contract. Kwame Brown probably won't be with them after this season, Crittenton costs little, and the future first rounders will help. Memphis is now built around Mike Miller, Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, and future youth.

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