Call Chris Webber a preemptive strike out.
Golden State signed the worn out power forward last week, just on the cusp of a five-day basketball holiday, helping to rest his weary bones (wait, he hasn't played this season) and use the power of his leadership to clinch a playoff berth in the spring.
The big boys in the Pacific Conference responded with overwhelming force.
The Los Angeles Lakers stole Pau Gasol for a bag of old gym shoes and a half roll of masking tape giving them yet another tool in a shed bursting with them. Meanwhile, Phoenix, realizing all good Eastern Conference big men were being priced to go hooked the largest fish in the Atlantic, Shaquille O'Neal. The Suns now boast size and speed for the race to the finish.
Which leaves the Warriors a lot worse off than they started. Leaving well enough alone meant that the run 'n' fun boys from the Bay could at least exploit some flaw in their western brethren, but by upping the ante, we just got raised right out of the room.
With eight teams going to the post-season, the Golden Staters are still looking good but thanks to their small addition, they're about to get stuffed by their large division. — Kibby Kleiman