NBA Trade Rumors: The Conspiratorial Whisper Beneath the Chris Paul Deal

I still remember where I was when I heard the Lakers had traded for Pau Gasol. I remember how many texts I received and how universally happy Laker Nation was to be adding another star. And in the process, subtracting an alleged murderer, Javaris Crittenton, and a team murderer, Kwame Brown. It was just in time to compete with the rival Celtics, the NBA's newly-crowned super team.

It was a dream scenario a friend might mention in jest. Only it was real.

Yesterday's scenario was different. There was more to analyze. More to digest. There was more lost and more uncertainty surrounding the future. 

Since 2008, the dynamic of the team has changed. The Gasol trade was attached to approximately zero risk. The Lakers weren't a championship contender without him, but with him they were.

But last spring was rough. For the organization and fans alike. We're not used to getting beat. And holy crap, did we get beat. There's usually an excuse to be made (if we'd just had a healthy Bynum against the Celtics...). This time there wasn't. The Lakers got crushed and Kobe looked old and Pau looked disheartened and Artest was Artest and Bynum couldn't stay healthy and Derek Fisher was planning his exit and Phil was getting ready to retire. Just like the Yankees when they don't win the World Series, the Lakers and there fans went into panic mode.

Mike Brown signed on as the head coach, then the lockout happened. And then we had to wait and marinate in our panic.

Months later, the lockout ended. And then we hit the eject button, sending two of the most unique seven-footers to ever play into small-market oblivion.

What we received in return was a brilliant, necessarily ball-dominant, superstar point guard with one good knee and one deteriorating knee. He would play in the backcourt with Kobe Bryant, a brilliant, necessarily ball-dominant, superstar shooting ...

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