From Eric Pincus, LA Times: Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis hopes to help improve the team’s defense, but he also had some thoughts to share on the offense. “The [Lakers] still have big people and I think you have to take advantage of the big people,” said Rambis in a phone interview with The Times on Thursday. “You can’t ignore them because they are an asset to your offense.” The Lakers lost Dwight Howard in free agency but the team still has Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, along with free-agent acquisition Chris Kaman. Coach Mike D’Antoni prefers a fast-paced offense but Rambis cautions that the coaching staff still needs to evaluate the players during camp, especially from a health perspective.Kobe Bryant is recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon. Steve Nash is almost done recovering from hip, hamstring and back injuries that bothered him late in the season. Gasol still hasn’t been cleared completely from knee procedures to help alleviate tendinosis.
From Ryan Cole, Lakers Nation: After winning three straight NBA titles between 2000-2002, the Los Angeles Lakers came up short on winning a fourth consecutive title when when they were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals. During the 2003 off-season, the Lakers knew that if they were to have any chance at getting back to the NBA Finals that they would have to go through San Antonio, and needed to get better as a team. So in order to fulfill that need, management brought in future NBA Hall Of Famers in Gary Payton and Karl Malone to play alongside the dynamic duo of Kobe and Shaq, making the Lakers seemingly unbeatable going into the 2003-2004 season.
From Satchel Price, SB Nation: The Los Angeles Lakers only have Pau Gasol under contract for one more season, but the former All-Star hopes to stay with the franchise where he’s already won two titles. Gasol says he holds no grudges for past trade rumors and remains positive while expecting to play a larger role with L.A. next season. “I would love to play for the franchise that I love playing for, that I’m proud to be a part of,” Gasol told Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times. “It would be great to continue to play for the Lakers.”
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: When you put an obstacle in front of Kobe Bryant you get the best of him. Which is why he went from talk of retirement and his next challenge to playing a few more years once he ruptured his Achilles late last season — there was a new obstacle to overcome. He had to prove he could come back from this. The normal timeline for recovery would have Kobe returning around Christmas at the earliest, but he is talking about the start of the season at the end of October. Speaking in China recently where he was on an annual Nike tour to sell shoes, Kobe put it this way as reported by NBA.com.