From Andy Kamenetzky, ESPN Los Angeles: Well, this was unexpected. Not because I thought moving James Harden would be unfathomable for the Oklahoma City Thunder. I actually expected OKC to explore trade options if contract extension terms weren’t agreed upon come Oct. 31. I’ve heard people saying the Thunder should have just played out the season, then traded Harden in the offseason if need be, because you don’t break up a young, ever-improving core fresh off a NBA Finals appearance. I understand that rationale but, at the same time, you don’t want a potentially acrimonious situation hanging over the campaign — and perhaps bleeding into the locker room and onto the court. I’m also a firm believer that if it’s a foregone conclusion your star player will eventually be dealt, better to do it sooner than later. The haul is typically better –Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and some draft picks ain’t peanuts — and you’ve cut off any drama at the knees.
From Janis Carr, OC Register: The season hasn’t even started and Dwight Howard already has been waving the cautionary flag. The new Lakers center said fans need to be patient in the early going as the team’s chemistry comes together. “I know everybody wants it right now, right now,” Howard said Sunday. “But we want to win in June, that’s what counts.” Some of the anxiety stems from the Lakers’ 0-8 exhibition record combined with the high number of turnovers that have marked each game. Another worrisome factor is that the starting five have played one exhibition game together; a foot injury to Kobe Bryant and Howard’s recovery from spinal surgery slowing the process. “We don’t expect to win every game and be 82-0,” Howard said. “But we do expect, say by midseason, that everybody will have the offense down pat and we’ll be flowing.”
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The Lakers have unofficially decided to go with 15 players to start the season. Teams are required by the league to submit their opening-night rosters on Monday. If non-guaranteed players Darius Johnson-Odom and Robert Sacre weren’t going to make the team, they would have been cut before Sunday to allow for the 48-hour waiver period. Coach Mike Brown indicated after practice that he doesn’t expect the team to drop any additional players before the start of the season. “I don’t think so right now. I’ll wait and see what management says and ownership,” said Brown. “Right now this is where we stand. For how long? I don’t know.”
From Trevor Wong, Lakers.com: With only one day separating the Lakers from their season opener, the primary question at the team’s practice facility on Sunday was whether or not Kobe Bryant would play against the Dallas Mavericks. L.A.’s co-captain is still recovering from a strained/bruised foot, and did not participate in practice again on Sunday, his sixth straight day of inactivity after initially hurting the foot last Sunday. “I don’t know; I have my doubts,” said Pau Gasol, when asked if he thought Kobe would be ready on Tuesday. “He hasn’t been able to practice for six days. He’s been off that foot for six days. It’s no joke; I don’t remember the last time he took that many days off. It’s a little concerning.”
From Ryan Ward, Lakers Nation: One of the other additions to the Lakers’ roster in free agency was sharpshooter Jodie Meeks. With Meeks’ ability to be a force from beyond the arc and another offensive threat off the bench, the signing of the 25-year-old was a given with the Lakers’ need for a threat from outside. Even though the signing of Meeks was considered a move in the right direction, the Lakers have yet to see it pay dividends with the backup shooting guards struggling in the preseason shooting an ugly 26.7 percent from the field. Despite a poor start with his new team, Meeks believes things will begin to turn around once the rotation set by the Lakers’ coaching staff
From “Actuarially Sound”, Silver Screen & Roll: Over the last two weeks, the scribes here at SS&R have previewed all aspects of the Lakers. They have dissected the rotation at each position, analyzed the offensive and defensive strategies, and dived into the roles of the bench unit. As we have done in years past, when all this information is complete we then input it into our top secret super-computer to crank out the projected stat lines for this year’s squad. So for those of you who have yet to complete your fantasy league drafts, you can toss whatever cheat sheets you have for the Lakers players because here are the best predictions in the industry*.