L.A. Times: Phil Jackson looked loose and relaxed, having let the sting of last season’s championship failure roll off his back and disappear into the waters of the Flathead River during an off-season spent at his Montana home.
The Lakers coach, who turned 63 last week, met with reporters for almost half an hour Friday, touching on Andrew Bynum’s physical condition, possible reductions in Kobe Bryant’s playing time and a front court that might or might not include Lamar Odom as a starter.
Bryant also spoke briefly with a handful of reporters in the players’ parking lot at the team training facility. He smiled a lot and seemed upbeat while detailing why he skipped surgery that would have required a 12-week recovery period for a torn ligament in his right pinkie.
“That was too long,” he said, splaying out his fingers and saying that enough scar tissue had built up in the pinkie to make it less dicey to play with this season. “It was riskier last season than it is now.”
Between Bryant’s pinkie and Bynum’s left knee, the Lakers weren’t fully healthy when last season ended with a 131-92 loss to Boston in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Jackson, however, hopes for a fresh beginning when training camp opens Tuesday in El Segundo. Of greatest interest, the Lakers’ 20-year-old 7-footer appeared to be in good physical shape, Jackson said, though Bynum’s absence in the team’s last 57 games might have stalled his development.