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Los Angeles Lakers Should Look to Past on how to Fix Team for Future

Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum killed the Los Angeles Lakers. Ron Artest is a mess. Lamar Odom could net L.A. some great pieces. The Lakers should trade for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. It’s the only chance L.A. has to ever win another title again. That’s the only way Mitch Kupchak and Dr. Jerry Buss can fix the Lakers in the offseason!”

Seems ludicrous? Nonsense! This is Hollywood and there are no limits to one’s imagination, regardless of how asinine and improbable the notions may be.

You think I’m making this up? I wish I were this crazy creative. Unfortunately, I’m not but I do happen to live in Los Angeles, where what seems to be the End Of Days was triggered when the Dallas Mavericks, a very capable team, swept the Lakers out of the playoffs in the second round. As soon as the season ended, the chaos began. Just tune in to any LA sports radio station and listen for yourself. Laker fans are going crazy with their opinions on how to “fix” the Lakers thinking of every conceivable method except for the most obvious and correct one.

The best way to “fix” the Lakers is by hiring a good coach to replace Phil Jackson. Then they need to find nice young point guard and a wing or two that can shoot the long ball — chicks dig the long ball.

But the core of this team? You absolutely do not mess around with this core. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom aren’t just vital; they should be considered untouchable.

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Did Pau Gasol Confirm Off-Court Issue with Girlfriend, Kobe?

It’s been a long month for Pau Gasol, and it looks like the summer will be even longer. On Friday we passed along a report saying Pau Gasol’s girlfriend broke up with him and that Pau was blaming Kobe’s wife for it. When asked about the report, Pau expressed dismay over the “lies” and Kobe said his wife barely knew Pau’s girlfriend.

Now that the Lakers were embarrassingly swept out the playoffs and went down dishonorably, Gasol seems to have opened up about some of the issues. From Bill Plaschke’s column in the LA Times:

“I have to learn from this,” Gasol said. ”I have to learn that when something happens off the court, you have to keep it off the court.”

He was referring to the report that he stopped talking to Bryant during the postseason because Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, had contributed to the breakup of Gasol and his longtime girlfriend. Lakers fans will remember that Karl Malone once publicly accused Vanessa of interfering with his personal life in a similar fashion.

As if that wasn’t enough, Marc Spears wrote at Yahoo! that “Pau Gasol … seemed to confirm reports that he was bothered by off-the-court issues. “I’m going to look back and see everything that’s been going on,” he said. “Try to handle it better. And whatever goes on, on or off the floor, just try to keep it that way and not let it affect anything that goes on on the floor.”

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Pau Gasol Disappointed with ‘Lies’ About Girlfriend Trouble

On Friday we passed along a report from Media Take Out that was cited by the OC Register saying part of Pau Gasol’s problems in the playoffs were related to personal issues with his girlfriend. Specifically, Pau was said to have broken up with his girlfriend and that part of the issue was a teammate’s wife had played a role in the breakup. The source of the report (Media Take Out) is known for throwing crap against the wall, but it seemed to gain authenticity when the OC Register endorsed it with a post on their site. Later, OC Register Lakers writer Kevin Ding asked Kobe and Pau for their thoughts on the report.

According to Ding, “Pau expressed dismay at “lies” reported about personal life upsetting people “very close to me.” “To me, it’s sad.”

In a related tweet, he wrote “Kobe dismissed theory about discord between his wife and Pau’s girlfriend: “They barely know each other.”

Kobe didn’t outright deny the story, but he dismissed it. Pau called the story a lie. Still, I wouldn’t close the book on this one. LBS sources say the relationship between the two men has changed somewhat. They used to be quite close in terms of their pregame routine, but our source says that has changed lately. Additionally, both men could be denying the story just to keep it out of the public’s eye. If you had told me a few years ago that Dirk was engaged to an ex-criminal who had conned him and that he found out about it during a playoff run, I would have told you you were crazy, but that turned out to be true. And if you had told me the teammate of the biggest superstar in the league slept with said teammate’s mother, I never would have believed you, but that by all accounts was true.

The story about Pau and his girlfriend breaking up (and Kobe’s wife being the cause) might not be true, but there are two things we know: the relationship between the men has changed recently, and the Lakers have struggled on the court. As we wrote before, that report could explain it.

Want to see more pictures of Pau’s girlfriend? go here

Phil Jackson Gets Upset with Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol has been completely absent during the playoffs and has struggled to produce against the Mavericks. We may have the reason why Gasol is playing without much fire, but that hasn’t stopped Phil Jackson from trying to slap him out of it. Literally. Phil got physical with Pau during Game 3 in Dallas, confronting him several times when Pau went to the bench. Let’s roll the tape:

I got the sense earlier in the series that Pau was deferring to Kobe too much and wasn’t really acting for himself. It seemed like he was conditioned to think “I don’t have to do anything because Kobe is our leader. I’ll do my job and get the ball to him.” With that sort of mentality, you lose aggression and don’t hunt down shots on your own. That’s what seemed to be going on with Pau, but the problem is the team has needed him and he hasn’t delivered.

Dirk Nowitzki is handling him on both sides of the floor and completely outclassing him. It’s a sad state of affairs and not one I expected to see from Gasol. It certainly isn’t what Phil expected, and that’s why he’s trying to shake some life into his star forward.

Are Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant Fighting Over Girl Trouble?

The Los Angeles Lakers are down 2-0 to the Dallas Mavericks and face a pivotal Game 3 Friday night. It’s looking bleak for the Lakers and a lot of their problems seem to be related to “trust issues,” as Andrew Bynum described it.

Many people didn’t know what to think of Bynum’s postgame comments, but it’s painfully obvious the Lakers aren’t playing the brand of basketball that’s gotten them to three straight NBA Finals and netted them back-to-back championships.

A lot of the Lakers’ struggles have been pinned on their superstar power forward, Pau Gasol. Pau’s averaging just 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game against Dallas in the postseason and a putrid 13.6 points and 7.8 rebounds in the 2010-11 playoffs, all below his All-Star worthy season. Now we’re hearing that Pau may be sulking because of personal problems that may also involve Kobe Bryant. The OC Register explains:

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Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum Rip Amare Stoudemire After He Calls Pau Gasol Soft

On Saturday, Knicks big man Amare Stoudemire called Lakers forward Pau Gasol soft. He was at the Foot Locker House of Hoops and was asked what it was like going up against Pau Gasol when he got off the blast. Here’s the video via Slam Online:

When word got back to Lakers center Andrew Bynum, he immediately questioned Amare’s place to call Gasol soft, writing on twitter, “The NBA is a weird place! How can a man that plays 0 defense call a 2 time champion soft?”

But the best response of all came from Ron Artest, no surprise given his level of craziness. According to Beto Duran, Artest said before the Lakers’ loss to the Jazz Tuesday night “Amare butt naked in magazines and Pau’s soft?” That of course was a reference to Amare’s participation in a partially nude spread in a magazine. And if that wasn’t enough, perhaps making an Amare sailor outfit reference would have worked just as well.

The NBA, where hypocritical happens.

Pau Gasol Impersonator Michael Fanter (Video) Charging Too Much Money

How much would be willing to pay for the services of someone who looks exactly like Pau Gasol?  if he could play basketball like Gasol and you were an NBA general manager, the answer would probably be an enormous sum of money.  If you’re looking for an act for your daughter’s birthday party, Pau Gasol impersonator Michael Fanter is probably charging too much — unless your name is Bill Gates and you’re a huge Laker fan.

Deadspin recently reached out to Fanter’s spokesperson to get price for him to appear at their “15-year-old daughter’s birthday party.”  The spokesperson said Fanter would gladly take the job for $600 an hour, which is a discount from the going rate of $1,500 just for an appearance.  Do you think this is worth that much dough?

The guy looks exactly like Pau Gasol, but so what? He isn’t Pau Gasol. He’s not a phenomenal basketball player. He doesn’t talk like him. He doesn’t know Kobe Bryant.  He doesn’t even have the authentic satchel. In short, I don’t get it. Good for him for finding an impression he can master — at least physically. However, I don’t think this is Fanter’s ticket to Beverly Hills.