With Dwight Howard gone and Kobe Bryant injured, Pau Gasol is eager to reassert himself as a leader of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Gasol told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he wants, knees allowing, to be the dominant player of old who helped Bryant and Co. win back-to-back NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.
"I think I have the most uncertain period behind me," Gasol said. "The team has suffered a lot of changes, but as far as me, I am back in the position of a lot of responsibility, which I like, and I'm just going to focus on getting healthy.
"Now with Dwight gone I am the reference inside and I am more like I was a couple of years back when we made the finals three straight times and won two straight championships."
The Lakers have entered one of the franchise's most difficult eras in recent memory, with Howard snubbing the storied club to sign with the Houston Rockets, and Bryant, its heart and soul, out indefinitely recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.
Gasol said he wasn't ...