From Phillip Barnett, Lakers Nation: Chris Kaman returned to Lakers practice yesterday after missing nine days with a stomach virus. Kaman, like Nash, will play in tomorrow’s season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers, but is still unsure on whether he’ll start. Shawne Williams has been starting in his place while he dealt with his illness, which begged the question of how often the Lakers would go with small-ball lineups. Head coach Mike D’Antoni has played with smaller lineups throughout his coaching career, and used them in the Lakers last two preseason games against the Jazz with success. According to the LA Daily News, Kaman, hasn’t been the biggest fan of smaller lineups. “It was never my style of basketball,” Kaman said. “I remember playing against Phoenix back in the day with those smaller lineups. It was hard to guard those teams. We’ll see. It depends defensively who we’ll go against. Against DeAndre [Jordan] and Blake [Griffin], it’ll be hard to go small, but we’ll see.”
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: The optimism surrounding Los Angeles Lakers veterans Steve Nash and Pau Gasol has gone in split directions since training camp opened last month. Gasol came in unsure if he would be able to participate because of offseason procedures on both of his knees, but ended up leading the team in scoring (13.7 points) while chipping in 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in the preseason. Nash came in saying how improved his body was after missing 32 games last season because of a broken leg and hip and groin injuries that stemmed from it, but he was extremely limited during the exhibition schedule, averaging just 4.0 points and 3.6 assists in 18.4 minutes. “I feel better than what I expected,” Gasol said after practice Sunday ahead of the Lakers’ regular-season opener Tuesday against the Los Angeles Clippers. “I’m really happy with how I feel right now. Now it’s just a matter of we have a tough start, very demanding, a lot of games in a short period of time to start off. But hey, that’s what the NBA is about sometimes and you got to get through it.”
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: The latest installment was unveiled in the Steve Nash Injury Watch. It’s “very possible” the 39-year-old point guard will sit out the second night of season-opening back-to-back games, Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said Sunday. Somewhere you can hear Nash’s fantasy value drop. More important to the Lakers is real-life value and what they can squeeze out of him this season, which begins Tuesday against the Clippers and Wednesday at Golden State. Nash looked solid in off-season scrimmages before training camp but since then hadn’t completed a full practice because of nagging ankle and neck soreness. It’s not uncommon for aging players to sit out a night in back-to-back situations. San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich has done it with veterans Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
From TheGreatMambino, Silver Screen & Roll: International trips have concluded, training camps are closed down and the buzzer for the collective amateur hour known as preseason basketball has sounded. The 2013-2014 Season is upon us, and we here at Silver Screen & Roll couldn’t be happier that real, honest to goodness NBA basketball is upon us. So let’s get down to the most important questions. Where will the Lakers fall in the Western Conference this season? Will they make the playoffs? If yes, what will be the biggest factor that propels them there? If no, what will be the largest component of them missing the postseason for just the fifth time in franchise history?