From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: Everywhere Derrick Caracter goes, his weight follows him. It partly contributed to his abrupt transfer from Louisville. It partly contributed to his low-draft stock after his days at Texas El Paso. And it partly influenced how he structured his eventual two-year contract with the Lakers. At each stop, he’s managed to shed pounds. But not enough to make teams and stop fans from expressing concern. That’s why, in addition to proving he’s matured since his days at Louisville, Caracter also hopes he can prove his conditioning is working better than his bulky frame suggests. Caracter said he dropped from 305 to 277 pounds after his career with the Miners because of more sleep and better eating habits. And after impressing the Lakers in Summer League, the team currently lists him at 265 pounds.
From Saurav A. Das, Silver Screen and Roll: Up until about half an hour ago I expected this post to be wholly inconsequential. I thought Caracter would be buried on the inactive list behind the Lakers’ three-headed monster of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, with accomplished vet Theo Ratliff backing them up. But now, things have changed. For the moment, they’ve only changed slightly in the overall context of the team, but that could soon change, for better or worse. Now that Andrew Bynum is once again experiencing injury issues, Caracter will be thrust into the (relative) spotlight, with his preseason minutes increasing and his chances of being rendered active during the regular season increased exponentially. It’s up to him how he reacts to that. He could either thrive with the increased run, whilst not straying outside the boundaries and limitations attached to his role, and thus make the Lakers even stronger and deeper as a team. That, or he could either flounder in the spotlight, or get greedy and start demanding more touches and more run, becoming a distraction to the team.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Kobe Bryant said the summer for him would be all about getting healthy. So, is he now? Well … Bryant had surgery to clean up his pesky right knee and has been recovering well. Even though it was his third surgical repair there in seven years, things should be good enough on that front. Then there’s the finger … Despite some speculation that he’d have surgery to fix the right index finger that he called a “constant battle” for him last season, that didn’t happen. That’s because surgery wouldn’t really fix an arthritic finger that has so little cartilage with which to work, something Bryant found out even before July rolled around.
From Darius, Via Land O’ Lakers: Soriano: I think Kobe finishes in the top 3 of MVP voting for the 3rd straight year with a legitimate chance of winning. I expect a fair amount of backlash towards LeBron and a strong push to anoint Kevin Durant as the MVP, but if Kobe can put together another high level year (which I think he will) and the Lakers lead the league in wins (another strong possibility) I think he’ll be right there in the MVP voting at the end of the year.