Lakers head coach Phil Jackson met with reporters for the first time after the All-Star break on Monday in L.A. after a full session that included participation from Kobe Bryant (ankle) and Andrew Bynum (hip), both of whom are expected to play against Golden State on Tuesday.
Thanks to 710 ESPN’s Beto Duran, who provided the audio as Lakers.com was en route from All-Star in Dallas, here is a synopsis of Jackson’s comments:
- For starters, here are Phil’s comments after a question about if he were satisfied with how Bryant moved around: “I think so. He hasn’t played in two weeks, so there (were) a lot of things that he was trying out, trying to figure out, passes that went awry and shots he was reluctant to shoot. But he’ll come (along). He’ll come.
- The head coach said that the Mavericks trade with the Wizards improved Dallas, giving them more depth in the front court through Brendan Haywood and another scorer in Butler. “I think they helped themselves in that trade” was the quote. However, as Jackson elaborated, the move doesn’t really affect the Lakers or the team’s potential activity or lack there of around the trade deadline.
- Overall, the practice didn’t please Jackson, who said that the players looked like they’d jut gotten out of school or knew that recess was coming. That’s natural, however, after a layoff, and he thinks the team will be fine to go against Golden State on Tuesday.
- Luke Walton’s back injury will keep him out for an indefinite amount of time, though Jackson hopes to have him back sometime later in the season. He mentioned more potential minute for players like Sasha Vujacic, who changed the game in Utah (said Phil), and Adam Morrison.
- The team’s focus: “I put four games up on the board (Golden State, Boston, Memphis and Dallas), and we want to stay focused on short term right now,” said Jackson. Of course, gaining home court advantage and staying healthy are always key areas of focus.