This is a great trade for LA. They got Kobe a legitimate low post talent in Gasol (who should work out great in the triangle). They didn’t trade anyone from their core rotation other than Kwame Brown and they held on to Jordan Famar.
I’m not sure if this catapults the Lakers into the front runners for the title, but this does give them a pretty badass starting 5 when healthy with Fisher, Kobe, Odom, Gasol and Bynum. That’s pretty solid (especially with guys like Famar and Walton coming off the bench).
The main thing I’m looking for is the domino effect. The Gasol trade could spur other teams into making some moves. Dallas or Denver may make a stronger push for Jason Kidd (who’s sweepstakes the Lakers are now out of). The Kings may move either Mike Bibby or Ron Artest (I wouldn’t mind taking a 3 month flier on Artest- IF thats what it takes to get Bibby AND if Artest declines his player option, as he’s expected to do).
As for the Cavs, I still don’t see them landing Kidd (or Bibby, if the Kings still want to unload Kenny Thomas). Even with the Lakers out of the picture, the Cavs simply don’t have a lot of pieces that are attractive at this time. Plus, I think next year/summer is the time where you’ll start seeing crappy teams full of nice players being paid like great players, to look to dump salary (like Michael Redd or Joe Johnson).