L.A. Lakers Get: Jose Calderon, Terrence Ross, Ed Davis and Andrea Bargnani
Toronto Raptors Get: Steve Nash and Pau Gasol
Why Toronto Says Yes
Let's face it, the Eastern Conference is garbage. Because of that fact (OK, it's an opinion), it's much easier to turn a bad team into a playoff contender there than it is in the West.
Imagine a Toronto starting lineup featuring Steve Nash, DeMar DeRozan, Alan Anderson, Amir Johnson and Pau Gasol. That's a legitimate threat in the East. Plus, Kyle Lowry's still there to come off the bench in relief of Nash or play alongside him on occasion.
Yes, the Raptors take on about another $12 million next year, but they're far enough under the cap that the added money won't put them into the luxury tax. Besides that, they'll probably make a mint by selling Nash jerseys to his beloved fellow Canadians.
Toronto would be loathe to part with the young duo of Davis and Ross, but if they're getting two bona fide All-Stars in return, they'd be crazy not to do it.
Why L.A. Says Yes
As we've discussed, Gasol just isn't going to work in tandem with Dwight Howard. They play the same position and simply don't complement one another very well. So why not ship Pau out in exchange for help at every single area of need on the roster?
L.A. craves perimeter shooting, which they'd get from Calderon and Bargnani. It also needs to get younger and more athletic, which is where Davis and Ross come in.
Post trade, the Lakers' core looks pretty intriguing. Calderon and Kobe Bryant would start in the backcourt; the wing rotation would feature Metta World Peace and Ross; Davis, Bargnani, Jordan Hill, Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison provide frontcourt depth and Dwight Howard gets to man the middle without Gasol cutting into his minutes.
There's no question that losing Nash would hurt. But he's not playing at an MVP level anymore and he's going to move past his 40th birthday before his contract is up.
This year, the Lakers get younger, deeper and more well-rounded. In the future, they save a little money by finishing the 2013-14 season with only Ross and Bargnani under contract.
It's a bold move that could help the Lakers make a push this year. But its real value might be in the flexibility it allows in the very near future.