ESPN, Yahoo! and others broke the news yesterday that the Lakers traded Kwame Brown plus some draft picks for Pau Gasol.

Yes. You read that right. Pau is now a Laker and Kobe just updated his Fave Five.

I am still kind of in shock over this trade – mostly because the Lakers gave up so little and got so much back. Seriously, if this were my fantasy basketball league I would be raising hell trying to veto that trade. Overnight, the Lakers went from being a really good team (with Bynum healthy of course) to a legitimate title contender for years to come. After all the bitching and moaning that Kobe did this past summer, he better seriously love his GM Mitch Kupchak.

Now if I am in shock over this trade then I can basically guarantee that every player, GM, coach and fan in the western conference yelled “f#$*k” when they heard the news. Winning the West just became infinitely harder. And how about Bull’s fans that were teased all summer with rumors of Kobe or Gasol going to the Bulls only to see them both on the Lakers? They must be furious with John Paxson.

At this point, I wonder how can anyone argue that the Laker’s new starting five isn’t amongst the best, if not the best, in the league. Lets take a look:

1. Fisher -He gave the Lakers the veteran leadership this year that they were missing last year. He’s a proven winner with 3 championships under his belt.

2. Kobe – the self-proclaimed Black Mamba. Listen to how he describes why he picked Black Mamba as his nickname and tell me you wouldn’t want to go to war with this guy. “The mamba can strike with 99 percent accuracy at maximum speed, in rapid succession. That’s the kind of basketball precision I want to have.”

3. Odom – a supremely talented player that never had the heart or the head to be the go to guy. Truth is, I don’t think he ever felt comfortable being the number 2 guy either. This year, Bynum became the number 2 guy on the Lakers and Odom just plain crushed it when that happened. When Bynum went down, so did Odom’s game. With Gasol on board, Odom becomes the 4th option on the offense and I am sure that suits him just fine.

4. Gasol – the consummate good player on a bad team. He brings to the Lakers career averages of 19 points, 1.8 blocks, 3 assists and 8.6 rebounds while shooting over 50% from the field.

5. Bynum – My favorite player in the game right now. He is the 2nd best young center in the league right now behind D Howard.

Take that starting five, add in Best Coach Ever (BCE) candidate Phil Jackson as the coach and throw in one of the deepest benches in the league and you get an instant title contender. If Jerry Buss is willing to pay the salary tax to keep this team together they will be contenders for years to come.

Now I’ll go on the record here and say that I don’t think the Lakers will win it all this year. Because of Bynum’s injury (which I hear isn’t healing well), there wont be enough time for the new starting five to develop any sort of chemistry. Gasol also has to learn nuances of the triangle offense, which I hear can be difficult. And lets be real, no team that has questionable chemistry and a key player that is unfamiliar with the offense is beating San Antonio. Don’t believe me? Just look at what happened in the Nuggets/Spurs series last year.

And finally, since today’s post is about the Lakers, lets just quickly look at the brilliance of Mitch Kupchak since his infamous Shaq trade (thanks hoopshype for the info):

  • Draft 2005: Selected center Andrew Bynum (10th overall pick), forward Ronny Turiaf (37th overall pick)
  • Draft 2006: Selected guard Jordan Farmar (26th overall pick)
  • July 12 2006: Signed forward Vladimir Radmanovic
  • October 27 2006: Exercised the contract options on guard Sasha Vujacic and center Andrew Bynum through 2007-08.
  • July 20 2007: Signed guard Derek Fisher.
  • October 29 2007: Exercised the contract options on guard Jordan Farmar and center Andrew Bynum through 2008-09.
  • November 20 2007: Traded forward Brian Cook and guard Maurice Evans to the Orlando Magic for forward Trevor Ariza.
  • December 12 2007: Signed head coach Phil Jackson to a contract extension.
  • February 1 2008: Re-signed guard Aaron McKie and traded him with guard Javaris Crittenton, forward Kwame Brown, the draft rights to center Marc Gasol and first-round picks in 2008 and 2010 to the Memphis Grizzlies for forward Pau Gasol.

Since his Shaq trade, there has really been only one bad move – the whole Kwame Brown for Caron Butler debacle. But, given all the moves listed above, I think he’s redeemed himself.

So now I’m calling out all you yardbarkers, ballhypers, fantasysportsmatrixers and random NBA fans – What do you think of the trade and do you think the Lakers win the title this year, next year or no time soon?

Now excuse me while I look pray for Sports Guy to become the new Knicks’ GM and make the necessary moves to put us in a position to sign Lebron in 2010.