I just returned from the Lakers Media Day festivities held at the team's practice facility in El Segundo.
No real earth-shattering news to report, but there were a few things I thought you might be interested to know.
First, this was one of the more civil and drama-free Laker Media Days I can remember for quite sometime. In the past, there was always seemed to be some underlying tension in the room, whether it was Shaq vs. Kobe, Phil vs. the Lakers or Kobe vs. the state of Colorado. But that was definitely not the case today. And to be honest, it was quite refreshing.
I spoke to Kobe for a few minutes. We were just shooting the breeze, as my dad used to say. He asked about my summer. I congratulated him on his gold medal and asked him about the trip to Beijing. He echoed the sentiments that I have heard from so many people who attend this summer's Olympic Games: it was unbelievable. Kobe has obviously been to the city several times before, and because of that he was able to attend more of the other Olympic events since most of his spare time wasn't spent touring the city. I believe the experience really gave him a greater understand of the entire Olympic experience.
I also spoke to Chris Mihm and he seems as anxious as anyone to tip-off the season. Who could blame him, considering how many games he's missed the last couple of years with a bad ankle. He told me that he spent two weeks in Austin rehabbing with the University of Texas athletic training staff. His trip to Austin wasn't so much about getting better care at UT than he could have gotten with the Lakers, as much as it was just to get away from the constant reminders of that dark rehab period he had to endure. He hopes to have a good season coming off the bench to backup Andrew Bynum. If he is indeed healthy, his availability will go a long way in off-setting the loss of Ronny Turiaf.
One other thing I heard that might be worth paying attention to is that Phil Jackson is considering starting Trevor Ariza over Lamar Odom. Now, there are a couple of reasons why that move could be made: 1) L-O may have fallen out of favor with Jackson and/or the front office and 2) coming off the bench would pit him against the opponents second unit with the belief that Odom could dominate those stretches of the game. Plus, if he comes off the bench, he won't be playing directly alongside Kobe all the time.
Again, it's just a rumor and this point, but it's definitely something worth watching as we get closer to the season opener: Tuesday, October 28th at home against Portland.