Anyone who tells you they saw Pau Gasol getting traded to the Lakers is a liar. As is the joker who claims to have predicted Shaq would end up on the Suns roster this year. Yeah, we've all had an idea that Gasol, Kwame Brown and Shawn Marion were likely trade candidates, but the deals they were involved in were quite surprising. Both moves certainly change the landscape in the Pacific Division - it's much bigger now. I'd have to say that Gasol makes the Lakers a legitimate contender to win the West, if not a championship - although I'm not that sold on them yet. Depending on which Shaq decides to get off the plane in Phoenix, he's the type of player that could really help them in a playoff series in which the game slows down - Utah or the Spurs. Not to mention the near-handful of rings he owns, which is the kind of experience the Suns are hoping will push them over the hump.
But it's not the effects those deals will have on the teams involved that intrigues me. It's how the rest of the west will react to those deals. Will Dallas push harder to acquire Jason Kidd, whom they've been rumored to be interested in? Will Utah restart talks of moving AK-47? Will Golden State do something else desperate? Who knows! But it'll be fun to see if any more out-of-the-blue deals, like we've seen so far, happen. Then there's the East. With KG shelved for the moment and a little new blood in Miami, will teams like Cleveland or Orlando try to make a deal now in hopes of chipping away at the lead the Celts have built? Or will they do the opposite and go away from making a deal and hope KG is out long term? God, and what will New York do?
Most years the trade deadline comes and goes without much actually happening, and this year probably won't be much more fruitful than it already has been. But there certainly is a lot more potential this year than there has been in the past. Stay tuned.
The Gophers got back on the winning track with a 20-point thumping of poor little Northwestern last night and have two winable games at home against Iowa and Illinois. Both games are must-haves if the Gophs want to keep their post-season hopes alive - however small they are to begin with.
Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, and Kevin Love - in that order - are on my wishlist for the Wolves in the draft next year. B-Easy is tearing up the Big12, gobbling up double-doubles like they he was a fat kid and they were Skittles. Not to mention dropping 25 in a big win against Kansas. In case you've missed it Derrick Rose is the lead guard on the only undefeated team in the country. He's scored in double-figures in 8 of the last 9 games and has narrowly missed two triple doubles in the last week. And Kevin Love has played like a monster on steroin - that's steroids AND herion - since his return to his home state against Oregon - where he was mercilessly booed. Over his last four games he's scoring 22 points per contest on 71% shooting while grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking 2 shots. Not bad for a freshman. You know Coach Wooden is proud.
As seen previously on this blog, it is ironic that the one game that was to be sold out at the Target Center this season, may be in danger of being one of the worst attended games all year. If KG doesn't play, which is sounding more and more likely, I think $3 might be too much to spend on a ticket to that game. It's too bad that the tickets that were sold don't really affect the organization. Let's hope the national television crew brings the lack of fans in the stands to the attention of the world. Well, atleast to all those fans in Boston that might be watching.