It’s been an unprecedented and generally awkward 24 hours for the NBA. I still find it miraculous that David Stern managed to make the utter absurdity of the NBA lockout the second dumbest thing he’s been a part of in the last six months.
Despite the confused state of the NBA world, training camp opened in El Segundo this afternoon. Here are some of the things worth mentioning:
Lamar Odom showed up late, spent about 15 minutes with Mitch Kupchak, then left without speaking to the media.
Pau Gasol (who has shown nothing but class since the news broke yesterday) found himself in the training room, treating an apparent right hamstring strain. He later tweeted:
(1/2) It was good to see my teammates today. I couldn’t practice because of a strained right quad but I hope tomorrow I can do more drills. (2/2) No matter what ends up happening, I’ll always be the person and the player that I am. Everything will work itself out. #AlwaysPositive
Kobe Bryant attended, and by all reports, looked fantastic. When asked about his knee, he gave a sly smirk and said, “You’ll see”. Bryant generally dismissed the outrage over the Chris Paul situation, saying “Stern can do whatever the hell he wants to” and he “expected everyone to do their job”. Classic media-savvy Kobe.
Many observers noticed that Ron Artest (aka: Metta World Peace) had packed on some pounds, and they weren’t talking about muscle. When asked, Metta blamed it on not thinking the season would start yet, and a “few extra martinis”. Probably not what any of us wanted to hear from Ron today…
A noticeably thinner (and more defined) Andrew Bynum shrugged off the persistent rumors of him being traded and described his knee as feeling great. We can only hope we’ll hear the same answer from ‘Drew in April (assuming he’s still a Laker).
Finally, Lakers spokesman John Black released the following statement regarding the events that took place yesterday:
“While we can’t publicly go into details or specifics about proposed trades or conversations with other teams or the league office, we appreciate the passion and support of our team, and the trust in our ownership and front office, to put together the best possible teams, both now and in the long-run for our franchise.”
It’s hard to say what we should expect going forward, but one thing we know for sure: The Lakers aren’t done pursuing Chris Paul.