01 October 2007

It's Been Awhile, But Time For What's Up with Kobe Bryant . . .

Kobe showed up to the Laker's training camp, no hold out, no more talk of trade demands. Inside the Lakers compiled all his statements in one easy to read blog post.

While not sounding entirely gruntled, Kobe no longer sounds disgruntled, that's progress. I think a deal is in the works, or a hold out would have happened. It was nice knowing you Andrew Bynum, your time as a Laker was a short one. Enjoy yourself with whichever team takes you.

Phoenix and Utah have some very talented unhappy players, if the Lakers could some how add Marion or Kirilenko without losing Lamar Odom, that'd be a tremendous boost to this team. Probably won't happen, but it would be nice to see. To get Marion, Odom would probably have to be in the mix, and that really wouldn't be a huge upgrade, despite Marion's great talent. Getting Marion while keeping Odom would give the Lakers a lot more depth and roster flexibility, however, but Steve Kerr isn't stupid, and I doubt he'd make that move.

Kobe looked healthy, lean, mean, and focused during the FIBA tournament. He was easily the best player on the court, even amongst a team full of all stars, and all the other all stars readily admitted this fact. What really stood out was his commitment to defense. He hounded the other team's best player in most of the contests, and against the solid guards of Puerto Rico, made them look like high school players, not the NBA level talent that they were.

If the Lakers can add one more talented player without giving up Odom, and Kobe's new found love of defense continues, they have a real shot at being a force this season. Derek Fisher returning to the Lakers is a lot bigger deal than people realize, bad point guard play was holding them back the last two seasons, and with a PG who is careful with the ball, along with a commitment to playing defense, the Lakers have potential to be pretty damn good. When you have the world's best player, you should be one of the top teams, that the Lakers haven't been lately has been perplexing.

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