If it wasn't for Commissioner David Stern, Pau Gasol could be hanging with Jeremy Lin at Rockets training camp right now. In a trade deal that seems long ago, Chris Paul was about to become a Laker and Gasol was on his way to Houston; until, the Commish made the controversial decision to veto the trade for reasons that still aren't totally clear. To Pau, this was the best thing that could happen. He was happy in LA then and still is now. As he gets ready for a new season, he's thrilled to have put the drama of last year behind him.

With Dwight Howard finally traded to somewhere he wants to be, Gasol has the comfort of knowing he shouldn't be the subject of any big-man-for-big-man trade talks. Also, thanks to the same trade that sent Howard to LA and Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia, he's back to playing with a mature, experienced center.