Philadelphia Enquirer: No wonder the rest of the NBA seems so ticked at Memphis general manager Chris Wallace these days.
When the best player in the league starts to really believe he can win a championship, it may not matter how much the West has loaded up.
Yes, Dallas got Jason Kidd last week, and Phoenix got Shaquille O’Neal, and San Antonio got Kurt Thomas, and New Orleans got Bonzi Wells and Mike James. But none may have the impact of Pau Gasol’s going from the Grizzlies to the Lakers. Not just because Gasol has stepped in for the injured Andrew Bynum, with seeming ease. But also because of the impact it has had on Kobe Bryant.
Was it just eight months ago that Bryant seemed to be in the midst of a nervous breakdown, demanding general manager Mitch Kupchak’s head on a pike and a one-way ticket out of town for Bynum? Now, with Gasol playing an able Robin, Bryant is Batman, averaging 28.1 points per game and emerging as the favorite to win his first league most valuable player award.
That is the backdrop to the rest of the regular season and the playoffs. If the West is the conference to beat, the Lakers look as if they are the team to beat.