As mentioned previously by Peter Vescey, there’s some speculation surrounding a possible Bulls/Grizzlies swap that would see Pau Gasol bound for Chicago. Whether or not Da Bulls would part with Luol Deng and Ben Gordon remains to be seen, but there is something curious about a concerted effort on the part of the Memphis Commercial Appeal to paint Gasol in the worst possible light.

Roland Tillery
slips the tidbit in today’s edition that “privately, the organization is growing dissatisfied with the effort Gasol has brought to work. The perception is that Gasol’s lackadaisical defensive and rebounding performances coupled with inconsistent offense are by design to emphasize his desire for a trade.” Uh, huh. Excuse me while I look up “privately”.

In the same paper, Geoff Calkins piles on :

As much as anyone else, Gasol is responsible for the Grizzlies’ hideous year. He broke his foot playing for Spain in the World Championships. The Grizzlies — who are paying him more than $12 million this season — never uttered a critical word.

“You have to understand, Pau loves his country,” West said. “That’s part of what makes him the great player he is.”

Pretty darn gracious, eh? But, then, when haven’t the Grizzlies been supportive of Gasol?

They hung with him while he learned the league his rookie year. They shipped Jason Williams and Bonzi Wells out because they were too hard on their sensitive star.

Then they paid Gasol the maximum allowed by the NBA, a six-year, $86-million contract extension that symbolized their faith in him.

“We believe in Pau Gasol,” said West.

And he repays them with this.

Harsh stuff. But I can’t help but wonder if Calkins’ boss announced his imminent retirement and the MCA’s owner was desperate to sell amidst plummeting circulation, wouldn’t the columnist at least entertain the thought of looking for work elsewhere?

Perhaps in 2008, a franchise player starring for Coach K’s Team USA will suffer a serious injury trying to lead his NBA brethern to Olympic gold. When that day arrives, I’ll not hold my breath waiting for an American observer to blast said superstar for representing his country. Well, other than Mark Cuban.

Straight Bangin’s verdict on the Tar Heels’ 6’9″, All-American forward.

Tyler Hansbrough is the most overrated player in the country. If he’s a success in the NBA, it will be a miracle. I can’t believe how long it takes him to get the ball from his waist up above his head when he’s around the basket. And in traffic, dude gets no lift. He will get owned by NBA big men.

While I’m not prepared to pass judgement on Michael David Smith’s racial sensibilities, I will say this much : even if Erin Andrews was the hottest person alive, there’s never a good excuse for playing The Tubes. Ever.