Spend nine days in New Orleans and some changes are inevitable. Thursday morning at the gym, for example, I sweated gumbo. No amount of time spent anywhere on this or any other planet, however, can change the most constant thing going in sports these days. The Lakers. The soap-opera-living, headline-inducing, he-said-he-said, sometimes-winning, often-whining, aged, infirmed, annoying, fascinating, sexy and sickening Lakers. Oh, yeah, we forgot. The dysfunctional, delusional, impaired, entitled, underachieving, overexposed, never-boring, forever-bleeping Lakers. These guys always are a story, as relentlessly confounding as trigonometry, as reliable as their performance is not. Now, not to overstate this or anything, but no team in the history of organized sports has been analyzed, covered or uncovered more than the 2012-13 Lakers. Well, at least not among teams that, 50 games into their season, had spent exactly one day above .500. Seriously, folks. It has been one day – one entire day – for these Lakers. Specifically, Nov. 20. A Tuesday. At that point, they were 6-5. Then they traveled to Sacramento on Nov. 21 and lost, 113-97, with an effort that Kobe Bryant called "lethargic" and that Mike D'Antoni said left him "in shock." People were still easily surprised back then, huh? So, on my first day back after covering Super Bowl XLVII, my intent was to write about Pau Gasol's injury, about how it could be a blessing, quieting his selfish complaining and opening even more opportunity for the younger, more energetic and athletic Earl Clark. As long as Dwight Howard can get healthy enough and Bryant and Steve Nash can continue to complement one another and Metta World... Ah, hold on! Howard, according to reports, just used the team's shootaround in Boston to point out that Bryant is "not a doctor" and doesn't play one on TV. Bryant, though, does sometimes sound like one in print.