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Lakers' Deal Is a Winning Move

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 4, 2008

There are teams that want to win and there are teams that want to win a championship. Following the acquisition of Pau Gasol on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers can be placed in the second category.

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The franchise that in the past made major moves to acquire Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal surprised the NBA by getting the 7-foot Gasol for a package that included former Wizard Kwame Brown, rookie Javaris Crittenton and two first-round picks.

Gasol did not play in yesterday's 103-91 win over the Wizards but was nonetheless thrilled to be out of Memphis, where the top priority appears to be dumping salaries.

"The best part is that right away, I have a chance to win," Gasol said. "We have the opportunity to go out there and accomplish something great and something special. This is a great team, coaching staff and organization. It is one of the best, if not the best."

For salary cap purposes, the Lakers signed retired guard retired Aaron McKie to a $750,000 deal and traded him to the Grizzlies. The Lakers will pay millions in luxury tax fees because the addition of Gasol, who is owed more than $63 million over the next three seasons, will put them well over the limit.

The Wizards, by contrast, carried only nine healthy players at one point this season because they did not want to risk going over the luxury tax threshold.

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