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Caught in the Web: More Gilbert Arenas follow-ups, Lakers links and Portland drama

January 8, 2010 | 10:54 am

This Gilbert Arenas story probably won't go away soon, the episode already seeing the immediate effect of his indefinite suspension. Aside from Arenas deleting his Twitter account, Verizon Center removing an Arenas banner and the story evolving into punch lines for late-night TV, there are other ways the gun incident is affecting the NBA.

The league initially removed the image of Arenas and his teammates participating Tuesday in a pregame skit where they pretended to shoot one another, but then made it available again after news outlets were looking for the photo. It's the latest example on how sports leagues, in particular the NBA, are continuously embracing the information age while trying to protect their image

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Nets are the first team to outlaw gambling on team flights, which was reported to be the root of the conflict between Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton. For one, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant told ESPN's Colin Cowherd that the Arenas incident wouldn't happen with the Lakers. After all, Mamba and his teammates have other things on their mind, such as how to end this eight-game losing streak tonight against Portland at the Rose Garden.

Lakers & Trail Blazers links:

-- Pau Gasol's return could be as early as Sunday when the Lakers host Milwaukee, and Luke Walton played in his first full practice Thursday since suffering a pinched nerve three months ago.

-- Lakers Coach Phil Jackson simply says the key to end this losing streak at Portland is to "play hard." I'm sure he's assembled among his coaching staff a more detailed approach.

-- The Lakers may face a challenge tonight, but it's just the beginning. Silver Screen and Roll dutifully notes that the Lakers will play 13 games in 23 days. Luckily for Lakers fans, it thinks most of those games will end in wins.

-- Portland has issues beyond fielding only seven players in Thursday's practice. That practice also featured a 30-minute shouting match between Trail Blazers Coach Nate McMillan and Andre Miller. And The Oregonian's John Canzano says this is just the latest example on why Miller is not a good fit.

Tweet of the Day: "No Pau Gasol again tonight for the Lakers, and Walton is not ready yet. I'd complain, but then I look at the Blazers injuries...." -- Forum Blue & Gold

-- Mark Medina

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