Around The World (Wide Web): Kobe, Camp, Kupchak,

Ryan Cole —  September 26, 2013

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.

Ryan Cole

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3 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Kobe, Camp, Kupchak,

  1. Carryover from last thread, re: Dwight’s decision.

    Dwight Howard has changed his mind in a course of 24 hours. Its like a very bad mood swing wherein one minute he’s in and the next one he’s out. He knew what he was getting into here and I think its counterproductive to base a franchise’s fate into 1 man’s decision which he did pretty much for himself, which he was entitled to.

    Dwight doesn’t like Kobe. Thats not a secret. He hates being pushed all the time and he has a different way of getting motivated. You can check interviews about him, the hundreds we’ve seen over the course of last year and you can pretty much group them into 2 different categories each time. He doesn’t give out consistency in what he says, which speaks about how indecisive he is. If we believe what he said that how he decided to stay or go elsewhere was solely made on his ‘retreat’ in Colorado, then it speaks volumes of how good/bad he felt at the time he made the decision. The best way to deal with it is move on.

    Some people fall into the trap of cliches. Just because one thing is an obvious choice doesn’t mean its what will happen. You and I say that its foolish for him to leave a guaranteed $30M on the table. But what if he values playing away from Kobe and MDA more? I can personally relate to this issue. Being in the shadow of my older brother who’s older by 9 years and significantly more successful than I am, I myself decided on a different life path that would be away from his shadow even if it meant “making less money” or “leaving $30M behind.”

    In summation, its best to keep Dwight’s decision his, he was after all, entitled to it. I am not mad at him for leaving, its one of the few given rights as a free agent he merely exercised. I do not hate Lebron 1 bit for leaving Cleveland as well, look where it got him now in retrospect. All in all, I may not think the way they think or decide the same way they did, but I do understand fully and without prejudice accept the decisions they made.

    Less than a year from now, a free agent would be making the same decision to leave his team in favor of LA. The reasons could be obvious, the reasons could be personal. It all depends on their traits, our needs, the considerations in between. Like I have posted in the previous thread, the Lakers do not have specifics for 2014 yet. I suspect the real plan is even 2015. Regardless, I am here in full support of what they do and to give the decisions made a chance to work, rather than bash it every chance I get.

    Dwight leaving LA is not, and will not be a basis of what will happen to the Lakers in the coming seasons. Geographical, monetary, and other considerations do not change overnight. The same way the Shaqramento Kings cannot be contenders overnight, the Lakers will not be beggars overnight.

  2. Somewhat off-topic but nevertheless related – the Lakers choices of Free Agents for 2014 is dwindling fast. Dwight leaving the Lakers meant we have more money to work with but it also meant that we are in need of more players that would be guaranteed to start.

    We do not know how Nash would look this year, much less so next season at age 41.

    We do not know how Kobe would look this year, post-Achilles-operation, much less so next season where he will be post-Achilles-operation AND a year older.

    We do not know how Pau Gasol would look, although from the standpoint of recovery and rest, and with Kobe possibly not ready to start the season that he would look his all-time best.

    The list of veteran free agents we could possibly need/use/have propensity to leave:
    Luol Deng – he seeks guaranteed money. He is currently paid 14M this year, and though we all know he won’t be paid by that much next season, would you pay him 44M over 4 years to be your starting SF?

    Rudy Gay – the 17 million dollar question. Would he leave this much, guaranteed as a player option, to be a free agent and sign with us? Purely speculative of 55M over 4 years to be your starting SF?

    Danny Granger – he lost his franchise to Paul George. Next season, PG will be earning more than him. Add the possibility of role/position conflict, there is reason to believe that Granger might sign elsewhere if he was paid enough and promised a starting job.

    All 3 players stand out to me as our best bet of signing. We would assumingly only sign 1 of them in order not to cause a logjam of salary at one position. Gay is more versatile under MDA due to his size, athleticism and range. He could play 3 and 4 depending on how things play out. Deng and the Bulls might have a good reason to mutually part but we know Thibs will fight for Deng to remain on his team. That said, the rift between Forman and Thibs might cause Deng to be shipped out.

    Again, I bring out the youngsters which have not yet been extended by their respective teams:

    Avery Bradley – coming off a serious shoulder injury; no contention in sight; Doc Rivers coaches elsewhere. There is potential Boston would not be very aggressive in matching any contract offer.

    Eric Bledsoe – with Dragic on board long-term, a significant amount (for an unproven youngster) might be too much for Robert Sarver the cheapskate to match. Would you overpay for Bledsoe and risk him being an onerous contract for 4 seasons? He has room to grow but he also has alot to learn.

    Greg Monroe – with the logjam in Detroit, there is growing interest in ‘trading’ Monroe for a better fit. Between Jennings, Josh Smith and Andre Drummond, it seems Monroe and his payday might prove to be burdensome for Detroit esp at a position where they already have a much-younger and more-promising prospect like Drummond. Who knows, but I’ve seen teams match contracts just to keep them as assets for trade later on.

    Gordon Hayward – like how Brian Kamenetzky puts it quite often, he lacks the ‘gravitas’ of a big time FA signing. Hayward of course if one of the better youngsters there are on the open market, however the Jazz have boatloads of cap flexibilities thanks to trading Deron Williams ahead of his trade demand. The likelihood of GH leaving/signing elsewhere plus the odds of Jazz management to match his next contract make it very unlikely for us to think of him.

    Outside the obvious Lebron and Melo pipe dream, these are the Lakers realistic scenarios.

  3. @Eric Pincus LA Times:

    I’d rather the Lakers just draft European players. Let them get more money overseas, develop and bring them over after 3-4 years. The summer league isn’t really developing players. I know Farmar had some days where he played two games in a day or something to that effect with the Summer League and all but you can only send players down the first two years and unless they are making a comeback as a free agent you won’t see them playing.