From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: The Los Angeles Lakers’ pitch to try to convince Dwight Howard to stay started long before billboards sprung up around L.A. Some six months before the billboards appeared, in positioning Howard as the franchise’s future, the Lakers put Pau Gasol in the past, and often, on the bench. “We did have a free-agent market last year we had to be aware of, and you make certain arguments based on the future,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “Whether they’re right or wrong, that’s the reality of it, and we went that way, but it was never meant to be a slight to (Gasol) or never meant to be that he was the cause of our problems.” While health certainly had something to do with it — Gasol’s knees, feet and head (a concussion) caused him to miss 33 games last season — Gasol was aware of the ground shifting beneath him as the Lakers gravitated towards Howard.
From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: Kobe Bryant is currently on tour in China after a brief visit to Italy and said stated that he “shattered” the timetable for an Achilles injury recovery because of a “different” surgical procedure and recovery process, reports Jonathan Hartzell of NBA.com: ”The surgical procedure was different [...] and because of that the recovery has been different,” Bryant said in the southern city of Shenzhen. “The normal timetable for recovery from an Achilles, we’ve shattered that. Three-and-a-half months I can already walk just fine, I’m lifting weights with the Achilles just fine and that’s different. So we don’t know what that timetable is going to be. It’s kind of new territory for us all.”‘
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: At the Drew League in the middle of summer, when Nick Young and Jordan Crawford square off for a shootout, it’s just fun. If they try to do that come some December NBA game we’ll all be saying, “maybe that’s not the most efficient system here.” Actually we don’t have to say it, Brad Stevens and Mike D’Antoni would bench them so we wouldn’t have to ssy it. But in the summer, let’s have a little fun with it. Nick Young has almost as many nicknames as he does brightly colored shirts — in this video he is both “Swaggy P” and “I am Legend.”
From Dan Duangdao, Lakers Nation: It’s been six years since Pau Gasol was traded to the Lakers, and during this time, we’ve seen the best and worst of him. The first half was impressive, to say the least, as he was a two-time All-Star and NBA champion while helping the Lakers to three consecutive Finals appearances. The second half was full of constant role conflicts, trade rumors, and injuries as the Lakers have failed to make it past the second round of the playoffs the past three seasons.Heading into the seventh season of the Pau Gasol era, there is certainly division among Lakers fans. Some feel that Gasol will return to All-Star form while others feel that he is no longer capable. Regardless of what your opinion is of him, one thing is for certain: the Lakers need him at full strength if they want to make a push in the playoffs.