I really hated this trade up until the moment it was learned that the Raef Contract of Doom might finally be exported, and somehow to someone not named Isiah Thomas. Still hope they trade Telfair, but, at worst, they let him walk in another year. And, teams usually have interest in Ratliff at trade deadline, so if it doesn't work out with him, someone will take him as a body to throw at Shaq.
I think Malone ends up in LA because it means a starting spot, plus he can still pick up 15-18 per game just on the scraps left by Kobe and Shaq. With the Kings, he'd end up with much less playing time backing up Webber, meaning less points for Karl.