Just a few thoughts as the Lakers slave away in what likely arenâ€™t fun practices. Of course, they are doing that in Hawaii and theyâ€™re well paid so you canâ€™t really feel bad for them.
â€¢ The Lakers cut Vlade Divac loose yesterday, something that was not a surprise. He told the LA Times his back hurt him after every hard workout, a sign that he could not play even the back-up minutes the Lakers need out of him. Which is too bad, I hope he gets to play a little more in Europe.
â€¢ If you want an update on where the lack of Vlade leaves the Laker roster, Eric Pincus at Hoopsworld has it.
â€¢ The biggest news in the NBA was the recent trade of Eddie Curry to the Knicks. There are some great breakdowns out there, I think the best is up at 82games and was done by friend-of-this-site Kevin Pelton, and he thinks this could work out in the long run for the Knicks. Personally, I tend to side with Knickerblogger, who isnâ€™t so sure:
Isaiahâ€™s obsession with other teamâ€™s players has led him to acquire guys like Jamal Crawford, Jerome James, Tim Thomas, and now Curry. Jerome James came from a playoff team, but since he barely played, his contribution to their success was dubious. The 2004 Bulls won 23 games, and Isaiah has 3 of their starters (including Antonio Davis) on his roster. Do these sound like the players you would be targeting if you were a GM?
I like the idea of a Sweetney/Tyson Chandler front line in Chicago, I think they can do damage in the East. Sweetney is certainly a scoring dropoff from Curry, but a full year of Luol Deng and the maturation of other young players on that team should make up for the offensive loss. But, the Bulls get a better rebounder and defender, and they stay young.
(By the way, ESPN.com said the Lakers offered Chris Mihm, Vladeâ€™s expiring contract and a pick for Curry, which the Bulls might well have taken, but the Lakers were only offering Curry himself three years at $7 million per, while the Knicks gave his six years at $10 million per. Frankly, Iâ€™m glad we missed out on that one.)
â€¢ One thing Iâ€™ve always admired about Kobe is how he comes to camp in incredible condition every year. This time heâ€™s dropped about 10 pounds and worked on his quickness in the offseason, and since he (hopefully) will spend less time creating the Laker offense through penetration, he will take less of a beating and the added quickness will be a bigger help than bulk.
â€¢ Phil Jackson said it is possible Andrew Bynum could spend some time in the NDBL this season. This may well be Jackson doing some through-the-media motivation, but I can see Bynum spending some time down there â€” at some point the kid needs to get in games and thatâ€™s not likely to happen, at least much, at the NBA level. If you send him down for a month and let him get some time on the court it will help his development. As he can go up and down a three times this season, one stint down there is understandable.
â€¢ Those of you who live in the Bay Area will be able to catch the Lakers first preseason game against the Warriors from Hawaii, itâ€™ll be on Fox Sports Bay Area at 10 p.m. Oct. 11. For those of us who live in Los Angeles, we can read the box score the next morning.
â€¢ In case you havenâ€™t seen it, just in time for the season the official Lakers web site has a new and improved look.