While there’s no shortage of wild storylines in the Association this Tuesday night (Next Town Brown mulling a return to coaching, Phoenix’s pursuit of Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron’s near triple-double against Boston, a mooted Ron Artest-to-Denver deal, the poor quality of recent guest blogging at Joe Nets Fan), here’s something for the rest of the Western Conference to shudder over :

On a night when Kobe Bryant could only manage 6 points on 3 of 13 shooting, Pau Gasol’s Laker debut was just slightly more auspicious than say, DJ Mbenga’s. The Spaniard showed few signs of recent back trouble, scoring 24 and collecting 12 rebounds in LA’s 105-90 victory over the Nets. It was harsh enough for Jersey that Stromlie Swift was unavailable, but did Jason Kidd really need to change into Laker purple at halftime?

Sam Cassell tells SI.com’s Chris Mannix that Latrell Sprewell rejected the Clippers’ overtures two years ago because “he felt like he would have to answer too many questions about feeding his kids and that stuff.”

I’m pretty sure Joel Steinberg turned down an offer from the Knicks for similar reasons.