Kobe Watch 2007 may have taken most of Sunday off, but rest assured, it was back in full swing for this morning’s 10:30 a.m. practice. With only one day to go before the Lakers take on Yao, T-Mac and a vastly improved Rockets club, the team feels they are ready to go even if common sense says otherwise.
The entire team practiced minus Vladimir Radmanovic who is day-to-day with a fever and sore throat. Kwame Brown’s injured ankle is still an issue for the center when he is forced to jump off one foot, but being named the starter at the five spot for opening night should certainly ease the pain a little.
Coach Jackson ran the team a little longer than usual, building on the positive nuggets gained in the Lakers pre-season finale win over the Kings. The team ended practice in a united “DEFENSE” chant; Starting tomorrow, we’ll find out if anyone was listening.
Both Jackson and Bryant spoke to the media circus after practice, each offering their own spin on the latest developments surrounding Kobe and some very noisy trade rumors. Jackson confirmed reports that the team has spoken with the Chicago Bulls, but stressed that nothing is imminent. He also clarified his previous comments questioning Kobe’s commitment to the team, explaining that he has had productive conversations with the guard since then and apparently, is pleased with where Kobe stands.
Bryant, on the other hand, largely plead the fifth, refusing to acknowledge speculation about his desire to be traded. Interestingly enough though, Bryant did hint at his openness to be shipped away from Los Angeles when he said would give it his all for whatever team he was playing for.
Fasten your seatbelts Lakers fans, it looks like we’re in for a long one. Stick around, because Lakers BasketBlog is your front-row seat to all the opening night action for the Lakers…oh, and that Kobe thing too.
Catch Jackson and Kobe’s full interviews on the Lakers.com Video page.