When the Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol to the Lakers in February 2008, the deal was widely panned as Memphis capitulation. And indeed, Pau Gasol teamed with Kobe Bryant to lead the Lakers to back-to-back NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.
But the trade has proved to be a bonanza for the Grizzlies, too.
Memphis traded Gasol and a second-round draft pick that became Devin Ebanks. The Grizzlies received the rights to Marc Gasol, Pau's brother, plus Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, a 2008 first-round draft pick that became Donte Greene and a 2010 first-round draft pick that became Greivis Vasquez.
Marc Gasol has become one of the NBA's best centers. He recently won the league's Defensive Player of the Year Award.
And the Grizzlies have achieved their best success ever under Marc.
Pau Gasol was an all-star in February 2008 and had led the Grizzlies to the playoffs in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Marc Gasol was a 23-year-old playing in Europe at the time of the trade. But the next season he joined the Grizzlies, who in 2011 upset the Spurs in the playoffs to reach the Western Conference semifinals, and now Memphis is back in the West semifinals after its second playoff series victory. Those are the only two playoff advancements in Grizzlies history.
Brown is a career journeyman, Greene is out of the league and Crittenton is under indictment for murder. Vasquez was traded to the Hornets for Quincy Pondexter, who is in the Memphis rotation.
But Marc Gasol has become a Memphis cornerstone. The trade chiefly was brother for brother. And both franchises prospered.
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