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Lakers expect to have Nash, Gasol ready for training camp. Kobe… we’ll see

Jul 29, 2013, 6:41 PM EST

Pau Gasol Kobe Bryant Getty Images

The Lakers are not going in the tank next season — they are going for the high lottery, they are going to come out and try to make the playoffs. The West is deep next season but making the postseason as a lower seed is not out of the question… if everything goes right.

Which mostly means guys are healthy and playing near their peak.

That was not the case last season. Forget Dwight Howard’s back, there was Steve Nash’s broken leg and residual problems, Pau Gasol playing through knee problems that required surgery after the season, and Kobe Bryant and his Achilles injury.

The good news, GM Mitch Kupchack told the Los Angeles Times, is that Gasol and Nash should be good to go at the start of the season.

“I spoke to Pau about two weeks ago for 45 minutes. He said he feels a lot better than he did a month ago. He was optimistic that he’d be ready for training camp. He does plan on playing three or four more years, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t with his skill level.

“We saw Nash out here last week. If I had to guess, he feels he’s in the 90th-percentile of where he wants to be. We still have two more months.”

So… what about Kobe, who wants to be back during training camp and for the start of the season?

“Obviously, we’re all hopeful and we all know Kobe. When you guess on Kobe, he always tries to prove you wrong,” Kupchak said. “The reality is he’s doing what he should be doing. He’s making progress probably weekly.

“Does that mean five months is possible or it’s really going to be eight or nine or 10? We just don’t know. When he gets back in September, we’ll take another look at him, but he hasn’t been on a basketball court. It’s really premature to try to predict other than try to be optimistic that he’ll be ready for opening night or the 15th of November or the 1st of December or the 15th of December.”

When he does return, Kobe will not be the same player, he will be slower and his athleticism diminished. Because he is so solid fundamentally his offensive game should come through this pretty well — for the last several years it was less about his athleticism and more his ability to get to his spots on the floor.

But they will notice his decreased mobility on defense. And with Metta World Peace in New York and Howard in Houston, the Lakers defense could be a serious issue for them this season.

Still, it looks like they will have a mostly healthy team to start training camp.

  1. chargerdillon - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    As a Lakers fan, I could give a damn about training camp or preseason, OR EVEN THE REGULAR SEASON.

    I expect my stars to show up in the playoffs.

    We talkin bout practice man…..practice…….

    • dls612 - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      I’m not a fan but you betta give a Damn about the regular season! How else would you make the playoffs!

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      Oh God I was gonna black out on you until I read the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs! Whew! There was going to be some issues if you had left it at “SEASON”. lol!

    • dezglobal - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:54 PM

      You’re acting like the Lakers already made the playoffs. lol Don’t get too excited

  2. jzone954 - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Any one who thinks Kobe will be back before mid season , that thought is a stretch

  3. apkyletexas - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    >”The good news, GM Mitch Kupchack told the Los Angeles Times, is that Gasol and Nash should be good to go at the start of the season.”

    You hear that Sacramento? Better watch your back.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:37 PM

      Boo.

      You meant Golden State, surely.

      • apkyletexas - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:30 PM

        Excellent joke. Golden State will destroy the Lakers.

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:45 PM

        Don’t get your lil’ feelings hurt when the overhyped up Warriors aren’t quite what they were cracked up to be homie. Yes, they are good, but don’t get it twisted. Remember you heard it here first playboy. 2nd round beatdown would be a successful season for them.

  4. cavemanna - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    A team of Gasoline, Nash, Kobe and one more Max contract( point guard!?) if healthy is a solid starting 5

  5. ocgunslinger - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    You simply don’t want to underestimate Kobe. He knows his body better than any athlete in any sport. He will push himself and after a month of regular games (whenever he comes back) he will know what he can do and can’t do and will adjust his game accordingly. Instead of hating this guy admire him for what he is and what he can do. One of a kind who will be retiring someday and the game will suffer as a result.

  6. ohioteamsusuallysuck - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Cavs>Lakers

  7. arrondior - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Shouldn’t this headline read “Lakers expect to have Nash, Gasol ready for trade deadline. Kobe… we’ll see”?????

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:11 PM

      Why would the Lakers trade a $20 million expiring contract at the deadline? They would have to pick up more salary to do so. And who would want to take Nash on?

      • arrondior - Jul 30, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        Why would anyone take a joke seriously?

      • Anoesis - Jul 30, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        Don’t worry, I didn’t take you seriously. As far as jokes: They only work if there is a hint of truth to them.

  8. madsk1lls - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Do the lakers have enough wheelchairs? Hopefully practice doesnt run too late. Bedtime for seniors is 8pm. Either way, theyll be the best team to make the lotto. #rebuild denial

  9. BigBeachBall - Jul 29, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    Kobe will steer the lakers away from a laker v clipper playoff this season at all costs…. Lakers will probably aim for a first or second round exit at the hands of either Okc or sas.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      You are kidding, right? Lakers are going to be looking up at the bottom of Portland’s boot.

  10. bucs24 - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Hahahahahaha good luck old guys

  11. capya - Jul 30, 2013 at 1:59 AM

    “they will notice his decreased mobility on defense”

    Thank God. Maybe now he’ll stay within 15 feet of the guy he’s supposed to be guarding, instead of wandering off to “help”

  12. mathischristian - Jul 30, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Who is Kurt Helin, and how does he know how mobile Kobe will be on defense when he comes back?

    • Kurt Helin - Jul 30, 2013 at 6:34 PM

      I’m Kurt Helin, the guy who gets paid to be in the Lakers locker room and run this site that you came to.

      And Kobe will be 35 coming off an injury that ends guys careers. Kobe loves to prove people wrong but he physically will not be the same guy upon his return in terms of athleticism. Have you watched other guys who came back (and took longer to do so)?

  13. caeser12 - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    THIS is why the NFL needs to hurry up and get a team in Los Angeles.

    All that nice Weather, all of then fine Women, all that good Weed, and all you want to talk about in JULY, are some Men in matching Purple and Gold short-sets.

    Come on LA!

    • Anoesis - Jul 30, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      Just as soon as the NFL abandons its strong-arm tactics by insisting on having taxpayers fund a stadium. The NFL has been absent for two decades in L.A. After experiencing Al Davis’ extortion schemes and Georgia Frontiere’s incompetence, why would smart people want to welcome crap like that back into the city at their own expense?

      Blackout rules are counterproductive, but now L.A. fans can see multiple games on TV every weekend. There have been several plans presented to the NFL to return a team to L.A., but greedy owners want an exorbitant expansion fee before they’ll approve. Screw the lot of them.

      • caeser12 - Jul 30, 2013 at 5:22 PM

        I feel you Anoesis. The LA/NFL situation is a joke.

  14. decimusprime - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Kurt, way to go! In the immortal words of Redman and Method Man… “Get em!!” You show these trolls who’s boss!

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