From Phillip Barnett, Lakers Nation: On April 12, Kobe Bryant suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in a game against the Golden State Warriors. The next day, Bryant had surgery to repair the torn ligament, and has been rehabbing ever since. The usual timetable for a return after an Achilles tear is nine-to-12 months, a during the summer there were reports that Bryant was shattering the return time from such a severe injury. In an interview with The National, a website in Dubai, Bryant says that he’s looking to be ready for Opening Night. Addressing his Achilles injury, Bryant said he was getting stronger every day. “Now it’s about cutting the recovery time, I should be OK [for the start of the season],” he said. It’s unclear whether or not Bryant will actually be able to be back at full strength by the start of the season, which is just over a month away. Bryant still isn’t able to jog and put all of his body weight on the injury as he’s still a few weeks away from being able to move away from the anti-gravity treadmill.
From Brett Pollakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak knows Kobe Bryant professionally as well as anyone at this point, considering that he’s been in the team’s front office for every one of Bryant’s 17-year career in Los Angeles. So while Bryant’s will to win is unparalleled in today’s NBA, Kupchak knows that he won’t change his game for anyone — especially potential stars looking to Los Angeles as a potential destination in free agency next summer. Simply put, Bryant is not going to showcase a certain, more appealing style of play in hopes that it may entice free agents to sign up to play by his side. “Kobe is not going to play to lure somebody to Los Angeles,” Kupchak said Wednesday, addressing the press in advance on Saturday’s media day. “He’s going to play to try to win games. If the way he plays helps lure players to Los Angeles, then so be it. But trust me, in January, February and March, that’s not what he’s thinking when there’s a game being played.”
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: When we last left the Los Angeles Lakers, a painful season was mercifully being put to an end at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. But the past is the past. A new season is right around the corner. Hope springs eternal, right? A lot has changed in Laker Land in the five months between the Spurs series, which ended in a 21-point loss to complete the sweep on April 28, and when training camp opens up Saturday. Most notably, the will-he-or-won’t-he game the team played with Dwight Howard ended with the Lakers stranded on the dance floor as Howard made his Texas two-step to the Houston Rockets. Beyond that, L.A. said goodbye to key contributors Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark, and hello to a handful of hopeful replacements in Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson. With that said, it’s time to count down to training camp. Let’s take a look at the 10 storylines to keep in mind as the Lakers open up the 2013-14 season.
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The Lakers rarely pick in the first round of the NBA draft. The only player on the roster who was drafted by the Lakers in the first round was Jordan Farmar (26th overall pick in 2006), and he was picked up this summer as a free agent. Technically even Kobe Bryant was acquired in a 1996 trade with the Charlotte Hornets (now New Orleans Pelicans). The last first-rounder taken by the Lakers who actually joined the team immediately was Javaris Crittenton in 2007. Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak has acquired a number of high-drafted players who have yet to truly make their mark in the league. “A lot of time a general manager or a team won’t pick up the fourth-year or the third-year option, only because they haven’t had enough of a look at the player,” said Kupchak on Wednesday. “Sometimes those guys are better off with the second team they’re with.