After reviewing the following deal, I can understand why it make sense for both parties. But I wouldn’t want to be sitting on Grizzlies season tickets for the second half of a season featuring Kwame Brown and Jason Collins. From the Memphis Commercial-Appeal’s Ronald Tillery (link courtesy Jon Solomon) :
The Grizzlies have traded Pau Gasol today to the Los Angeles Lakers for center Kwame Brown, rookie guard Javaris Crittenton, guard Aaron McKie, the rights to Gasol’s brother Marc, and first-round draft picks in 2008 and 2010, The Commercial Appeal has learned.
The decision was made that the Grizzlies could no longer move forward with Gasol on and off the basketball court.
The deal allows the Grizzlies to gain salary cap relief, as Brown is in the final year of a deal that pays $9,075,000.
Also today, a Grizzlies source said that forward Stromile Swift has been traded to the New Jersey Nets for center Jason Collins.
Soothsaying award of the week goes to True Hoop’s Henry Abbott, who got a few of the details wrong but had the trade’s conceptual angle figured out a few hours before the trade was announced.
Kwame Brown’s large expiring contract is the key, and only needs to be partnered with something reasonable, for instance Sasha Vujacic (expiring contract) and Coby Karl to make the trade work under salary cap rules.
If Memphis did such a deal, they would almost certainly have the most cap room in the league this summer. Exactly how much they’ll have is unknowable without seeing what happens with Damon Stoudamire — who will get Memphis some more cap relief — and knowing where they will end up in the draft, which determines how much they’ll be paying a rookie.
I hear you Memphis fans, you don’t really feel like giving away your Pau Gasol in a salary dump. But remember, this is a special summer for free agents. There is an attractive crop of players, but more importantly there are very few teams with the cap space to join the bidding. It will be a buyer’s market. And Memphis can offer guys like Antawn Jamison and Elton Brand the chance .