On February 1, 2008, the Los Angeles Lakers signed a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies to acquire Pau Gasol in exchange for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, rights to Marc Gasol (Pau's younger brother), and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks.
27-year-old Gasol has often been compared with fellow European players Toni Kukoč and Dirk Nowitzki. He is a very gifted low-post scorer who regularly scores 20 points a night. He sports a nice hook shot, can score outside and inside, and also is near-ambidextrous. He can reasonably hit his free throws, averaging at about 72.0%. He has also averaged 1.8 blocks and 8.6 rebounds per game in his career.
In 2000-01, Pau established himself as one of the finest players in Europe , averaging 11.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in just under 24 minutes per game.
He won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 2002 while playing for the Memphis Grizzlies.
On February 9, 2006, for the first time in his career, Gasol was selected to play in the 2006 NBA All-Star Game in Houston as a reserve center for the Western Conference.
He was the first Spanish basketball player as well as the first Grizzlies player to ever make it to the All-Star Game.
Gasol missed the first 19 games of the 2006-07 NBA season due to a broken foot suffered near the end of Spain's semifinal win over Argentina in the 2006 FIBA World Championship. He would go on to be named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, which Spain won.
Gasol has three more years and an estimated $49 million on his contract. Gasol will play at center until Andrew Bynum returns from a knee injury in March. Then he can play as power forward.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969