Mike Brown went into last year’s lockout-shortened season with little in the way of training camp and a team that was to put it mildly, evolving. Similarly, he’s entering his second season with another crop of new faces – some are stars, some are journeymen and some are just starting their NBA journeys. The longtime face of the franchise of course is Kobe Bryant and while he brings a sense of stability and purpose in the present, there is still the expectation of change. Bryant has hinted at his retirement when his present contract runs out and recent talk has been as much about free agent possibilities in 2014 as it is about a run for the ring this year. As for the right here, right now – all eyes are on Dwight Howard who may be eying Sunday for his long-awaited return to game action.
Ramona Shelburne for ESPN GO also looks at Dwight Howard’s state of readiness, and the butterflies that he anticipates for his Lakers debut.
Brian Kamenetzky for ESPN’s Lakers Report, writes about how improving fundamentals improves Howard’s health.
Also on the subject of improving health, Yahoo Sports via the AP, reports on Jordan Hill’s return to practice.
Eric Pincus kicks off his new gig at the LATimes, Lakers Now blog.
Kevin Ding of the OC Register talks with Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss about the 2014 season and cap room for a major free agent signing.
Actuarially Sound for Silver Screen and Roll, wonders if we’ll witness history being made this season
Suki Thind at Lakers Nation reports on Kobe Bryant’s mission to help those in need, including a fundraising walk.
Curtis Harris at Pro Hoops History remembers Minneapolis Laker great Slater Martin who passed away yesterday at the age of 86.
There were some recent reports about NBA referee Greg Willard and his battle with cancer. Nobody has written about it more poignantly in my opinion, then Elliott Teaford for Inside the Lakers.
While much is expected from this year’s Lakers, there is no certainty in sports or in life. Only that it is ever changing and that the end date often feels too soon. The beauty of the yearly draft is that we’re continually treated to new faces and sometimes, new legends in the making. Still, for the constant influx there are also the constant exits, though often delayed, drawn out and sometimes hard to watch. I have no real evidence to back this up but I don’t suspect that Kobe Bryant will play out the long slide. I think he’ll be here and relevant one season and gone the next. There will be time for goodbyes of course and the time isn’t yet. Tonight he suits up for preseason game number five, against the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas.
– Dave Murphy