9/30: Training Camp Reports - Day 1

OC Register: Laker youngsters fight for last roster spots

Postby JSM on Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:28 am

Janis Carr of the Orange County Register wrote:
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The young guys hung together, unsure and unknowing what they were supposed to do or where to go during Monday’s media session.

Few reporters approached them. Even fewer television cameras sought them out. So the group of rookies joked around, laughed and then took a group photo.

Yet, by the time Lakers training camp ends, one player, maybe two, will emerge from the pack, separated by their superior ball-handling skills, shooting ability or defensive play and be rewarded with a roster spot.

The competition for the final two roster spots will be fierce as training camp opens Tuesday. Coach Phil Jackson traditionally likes to carry only 14 players, allowing him leeway later on in the season in case the Lakers suffer multiple injuries.

The rookies know this and are aware of each other’s competitive drive.

“I feel the spots are open for someone to take, for the rookies to take, you just have to go out there and take them,” said Dwayne Mitchell, a free agent guard who played last season for Iowa in the NBA Developmental League.

“They are going to take the best two guys, the two guys they feel can best help them, this team and improve their game.”

Mitchell, 6-foot-5, is hoping, like the rest, to possess the right stuff.

Coby Karl could be seen as more than training camp fodder because he spent parts of last season on the Lakers bench. He also spent time with the Los Angeles D-Fenders in the D-League.

But Karl isn’t taking his incumbent status for granted. He said he knows he has to work just as hard as the rest to warrant a second invitation.

“Being in the system for a year, knowing the guys, that might help me a little bit,” Karl said. “I know my spot is the one all these guys are looking for. It was a dream to be on the team last year and I just have to make it happen again this year.”

Being part of the team last year does have its advantages. Jackson already knows Karl’s game.

“He does have the inside track because he was with us last year,” Jackson said. “There are a lot of people interested in Coby playing not only in the NBA, but overseas and I would hate for him to have to sit another year like he did last season when he was inactive a lot and with the D-Fenders. I would really like him to play because he is 25.”

Joe Crawford, the Lakers’ lone draft pick this summer, believes everyone has a shot at making the team. Crawford, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Kentucky, was the 58th overall pick in the NBA Draft.

“I think everyone is on even ground,” Crawford said. “You have to go out there and compete and may the best man win.

“They drafted me so they know what I can do. I just need to bring it to the next level.”

C.J. Giles, a 6-foot-10 forward who is looking to fill the role left by Ronny Turiaf’s departure, said he will be nervous the first time he steps on the court Tuesday morning -- but only for a moment.

“It’s just basketball, so you just have to go in and do the best you can,” Giles said.
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Re: OC Register: Laker youngsters fight for last roster spots

Postby therealdeal on Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:33 am

I think I'm pulling for Giles, we have a ton of guards right now
Fisher, Famar, Yue, Bryant, Vujacic, at the guard spot
Gasol, Odom, Powell, (Radmanovic), ______
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Re: OC Register: Laker youngsters fight for last roster spots

Postby JSM on Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:43 am

his a little more from a related blog entry she posted...

Janis Carr of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:C.J. Giles ran his hand over the front of his gold-and-purple jersey, feeling the No. 20 emblazoned across his chest.

“It’s an honor,” he said of being invited to training camp. “It’s a shock to have a Lakers jersey with my name on it. This is where the best are.”

Giles, like the other rookies, is hoping to be wearing that Lakers jersey long after training camp ends. He is battling a handful of other guards for one or two roster spots as training camp opens Tuesday.

Giles wore two different jerseys in college, one for Kansas and later for Oregon State. His stays at both places were cut short by off-the-court problems and attitudes.
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Jerry Buss & Kobe Bryant, happy together

Postby JSM on Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:59 pm

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register wrote:Kobe Bryant walked over to the far side of the court and initiated the conversation with Jerry Buss today after practice. What a difference a year makes.

Bryant and Buss spoke amiably for a few minutes before parting with a handshake on which Buss reached out gently with his left hand to squeeze Bryant’s elbow for a little extra. Buss had sat in on the first Lakers practice of the season — his car parked just outside the door with the license plate “9XWCHAMP” — and had the most fun watching Bryant and Pau Gasol play a fun game of one-on-one on a side basket while most of the other Lakers ran practice-ending sprints.

Buss smiled big and laughed loud when Bryant got on a roll, scoring time after time over Gasol on an array of short pull-up jumpers before breaking out a lovely up-and-under move after Sasha Vujacic had tried to advise Gasol to stand taller by repeatedly yelling over: “He can’t shoot over you!” Gasol finally surrendered with a playfully hard foul on the next Bryant attack.

Bryant and Gasol, both coming off Olympic action over the summer, were excused from parts of practice. The Lakers will practice again tonight at their El Segundo facility and are scheduled for two-a-day work through Sunday.
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Re: OC Register: Jerry Buss & Kobe Bryant, happy together

Postby Ras Algethi on Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:17 pm

Good to hear. I love reading that kind of stuff.
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OC Register: Bryant’s finger to fly free

Postby JSM on Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:21 pm

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:Kobe Bryant said he doesn’t need to wear the tape job linking the smallest two fingers on his right hand this season because enough healing has taken place that he is not at added risk for injury.

I asked Bryant if he is doing anything extra now regarding his hand, where there is a torn ligament but scar tissue has built up. He said he isn’t doing anytyhing beyond the standard exercises he does for both hands and for each finger. Yes, he is that fantatical that he does exercises for each finger “to keep them nice and strong.”

Bryant is not blessed with the largest hands for a basketball player, so he does what he can. He does a lot of squeezing exercises (he will have an oversized basketball in his locker before each game to work his hands) and actually uses a band to tie fingers together and then practice stretching them against resistance.

“These are the little things that you learn you have to do,” Bryant said.

Even as good as Bryant feels, it’s worth mentioning that Phil Jackson might hold him (and Pau Gasol, also coming off Olympic summer play) entirely out of an exhibition game. Be on alert if you’ve got tickets for the Oct. 7 opener at Honda Center in Anaheim, even though you’d think Bryant will talk his way into suiting up.

Jackson laughingly suggested it was bad business (his girlfriend is the executive vice president of business operations, after all) for him to say in advance that Bryant wouldn’t be playing in a game, but bear in mind that this week is the week that Jackson is limiting Bryant and Gasol’s workload.

“I was told not to say that I wasn’t going to play Kobe in exhibition games,” Jackson said. “So I’m not going say that Kobe’s not going to play in this exhibition game or that But there’s a chance that they might not play in an exhibition game.”

Other injury updates: Andrew Bynum went through his first practice with a brace over his knee. Luke Walton, coming off ankle surgery, was able to go through about two-thirds of the practice, according to Jackson, but is probably at least a week away from intense on-court work.
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Re: 9/30: Training Camp Reports - Day 1

Postby Ras Algethi on Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:37 pm

This doesn't surprise me in the least bit about Kobe.

He said he isn’t doing anytyhing beyond the standard exercises he does for both hands and for each finger. Yes, he is that fantatical that he does exercises for each finger “to keep them nice and strong.”
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Odom wants to start, and Jackson knows it

Postby JSM on Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:11 pm

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register wrote:Lamar Odom would rather start. He would rather have a big season and get another big contract to replace the one that expires at the end of this season. He would also rather win a championship with the Lakers than be elsewhere.

So Odom acknowledged he’s conflicted about his personal and team agendas, especially after Phil Jackson continues to ponder his brainstorm from the end of last season that the Lakers might be better served with Odom as a sixth man and defensive ace Trevor Ariza starting.

“Whatever he wants, I guess I would do,” Odom said. “But I wouldn’t suggest (a reserve role), especially in a year where I want to be on the court for obvious reasons.”

Jackson and Odom have spoken briefly about the matter, but Jackson remains set on waiting and seeing what kind of defense the tall frontcourt of Odom, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum can deliver together for the starting lineup. Jackson brought up the name of San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili to reporters after practice as an example of how elite teams usually have a starting-caliber player coming off the bench.

Jackson also offered this little dig when asked about the possible bench role motivating Odom to work harder: “I don’t know. I’ve never seen Lamar motivated before.”
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It begins

Postby JSM on Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:02 pm

Brian Kamenetzky of the LA Times Blog wrote:

Not that you'd expect anything different about two and a half hours into the first practice of the first day of the season, but there wasn't a ton of news coming out of El Segundo this afternoon. The biggest was probably with Lamar Odom, who clarified/expanded on comments made at Monday's media day regarding the possibility of him coming off the bench. Fair to say he didn't like the idea. He still doesn't, nor would you expect him to, really, but made it clear at the same time he's not interested in being a distraction.

"It's not about me right now, at the end of the day. You see what I'm saying? It's not about sacrificing when you're winning. If you want to win, you can't expect to get every rebound, every loose ball when you've got the talent we've got out there. I don't call it sacrificing when you're winning, you're just playing together, and I don't think it'll be a problem for us to play together," he said. "It's not right for me to be selfish. I walk into the locker room, and I'm like "Damn, this team is going to win a championship, and I want to be a part of that."

Still, the free agent to be finds himself squarely in the cross hairs of basketball's "politics and business," and Odom, never one to underthink a situation, understands the situation. "It's definitely conflicted emotions. I might wake today feeling one way, then wake up tomorrow feeling another way. This is the team I want to be with, this is the coach I want to play for, these are the guys I want to be around," Odom said. I wouldn't worry about Odom's reaction to the whole "sixth man" concept, at least not until it becomes something the Lakers want to do, but he's a sensitive guy. He's certainly used to being the subject of near-constant trade rumors, but the contract status adds a new wrinkle.

Moving on, we didn't have a chance to catch up with LO Monday, so he gave a little background on his summer:

* Odom spent the summer trying to get healthy, letting his tendinitis in the knee "calm down," and heal up his shoulder. "I feel good right now. Sometimes with that tendinitis, the best thing to do is absolutely nothing. Just lay on the beach with some good company. A Corona, if that's your preference," Odom said with a laugh. "Then build back up from the beginning."
* On the adjustment to the wing: "I prefer the mismatch. This year, I'm going to be taking the ball out, pushing it out, and making plays happen. Kind of facilitate, and that's what I like to do anyway. It's the strength of my game... Defensively, it shouldn't be a problem because guys that are quicker than me, I can just run them into the seven footer and take their guy. It's going to make us so much better defensively that I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to showing people that I can play a complete game without shooting 25, 20, or 15 shots, because you've got players around you who are going to compliment what you do. On a team like this, I'm going to be able to control the game with taking eight shots, getting 12 rebounds and eight assists, scoring 10 points a game. It's going to be a lot of fun playing with guys like this."
* In that sense, Odom is the perfect compliment to what the Lakers are doing, precisely because he isn't looking for shots. I know we had this debate all summer, but for the Lakers to bring in another player (Ron Artest for example) who wants his points and likes to shoot had the risk of upsetting the apple cart, so to speak. The Lakers already have three strong offensive options in Bynum, Gasol, and (of course) Kobe. Theoretically, at least, this is the perfect environment for Odom to thrive, as he did over the second half last year. It won't be cheap at $14 mil, but that's not really the issue.
* On rebounding, Odom said that with Andrew Bynum back, the giant frontcourt, and healthy backups in Chris Mihm and DJ Mbenga, the Lakers shouldn't have any problems controlling the boards.

In other news...

* Set up perfectly by a reporter who asked if the whole PT thing could help motivate Odom, PJ couldn't help but make a joke at LO's expense. "I don't know," he smiled. "I've never seen Lamar motivated before."
* Kobe and Pau watched the end of the morning practice as their teammates completed wind sprints. They spent that time playing one on one against each other, with Kobe posting and trying to launch fadeaways over the limb-y Spainaird. PJ made it clear that those two would be on a reduced schedule in the early going, to try and keep them fresh after their Olympic experience. Jackson also strongly implied that at least initially, Kobe's run in the preseason games could be short, perhaps very short. Keep that in mind when purchasing tickets.
* Kobe spoke about his finger, and said at this point, there's nothing about it that limits him. He'll be rolling without tape this season, and has regained much of the strength in his hand thanks to some very focused exercises. There's some pain if it gets hit, but "I don't worry about it at all."
* Chris Mihm was very encouraged by his first practice. "It's the first time since March (of '06), when I originally injured the foot." He's regained his trust in the foot, though Mihm said he never really lost it after each surgery, just to end up disappointed. This summer, he "stressed" it extensively, and "it responded better than I ever could have anticipated. Zero pain the whole summer."
* He's also looking at free agency after this season. "As far as the contract goes, that kind of stuff takes care of itself if you can play. I just want for myself, more than anything, to get out there and play and have fun again, and not be frustrated nursing frustration with my foot."
* Between him and Trevor Ariza, himself healthy after foot problems of his own, they can finally turn in their walking boots. "Maybe we'll have a bonfire," Mihm said. "It would be a lot more fun."
* Finally, it was interesting to see both Dr. Buss and Jimmy at practice today. Both were smiling, and Jim told me he's completely stoked to get things underway. The guy has a serious basketball Jones, it's fair to say.
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Re: 9/30: Training Camp Reports - Day 1

Postby ladam24 on Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:09 am

Man am I excited for this season. :jam2:
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Re: 9/30: Training Camp Reports - Day 1

Postby therealdeal on Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:09 am

I think this is the most excited I've been about the start of a Lakers season since the Three-peat days...
Everyone sounds like they're willing to be unselfish, and work with this team and contribute to their respective roles to the best of their abilities. I'm looking forward to seeing how this team progresses.
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AKA The Court Marshal

Postby JSM on Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:43 am

ART THOMPSON III of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:He stood behind the baseline, arms crossed, a stern look on his face.

Practice was winding down to a close and Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons had a serious role to fill - detecting if any of the 17 players running the full-court sprints cheated on the drill by stopping even a smidgen short of the baseline, before heading back in the opposite direction.

“Unfortunately, someone has to do it, otherwise we’d have violations,” Cleamons said, and you wait to see if he’s about to whip out his trusty ticket book.

Instead, Cleamons explains that the cost for those who shortcut the sprints is the universal infraction imposed by coaches on all levels - from YMCA ball to the NBA. You ballers all know the penalty - if one person doesn’t cross the line, then everyone runs, again.

And, so it happened. Someone ran 93 feet, not 94 feet. Cleamons signaled head coach Phil Jackson that a violation had occurred and the whole group had to run, again.

Predictably, anguished remarks filled the air from players already worn out from a two-hour-plus practice, the venom directed at the shortsighted culprit. The loudest voice belonged to guard Sasha Vujacic, who had finished yards ahead of the pack.

“They shouldn’t be happy,” Cleamons explained. “But if they’re a smart basketball team, then today is the only day that this will happen. Basically, it’s a maturity thing.”
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It has a nice ring to it

Postby JSM on Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:44 am

Art Thompson III of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:That championship mindset already is being entrenched in the Lakers and training camp only got underway officially with a two-a-day session on Tuesday.

However, when practice ends and the players gather at mid-court for their huddle, the chant that is uttered is, “One, two, three…Ring.”
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Tip-top shape

Postby JSM on Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:46 am

Art Thompson III of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:By the time the media was allowed in to view the final half hour of the Lakers’ opening training-camp session, the team already was engaged in their conditioning portion of practice.

Although Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol were on an adjacent basket, engaging in a light-hearted game of one-on-one, it only appeared as though the pair had received a pass, by head coach Phil Jackson, from the full-court sprints run by their other 17 teammates.

“No, they sprinted hard, before you guys got in here,” Lakers spokesman John Black said, when queried.

Bryant engaged in lighthearted banter when asked how the duel with Gasol went.

Q: He can’t stop you?

Bryant: “No.”

Q: But you can stop him?

Bryant: “Yes.”

Q: Why is that so?

Bryant: “Because I’m a beast on that block.

“Naw, we were just having a good time, working on some new stuff. The fun part of it is just playing.”

Both Bryant and Gasol have been playing basketball virtually non-stop for a year. Following the NBA Finals, Bryant joined Team USA and Gasol return to Spain’s national basketball team.

The two Lakers met up on the court in the Beijing Olympics in the final game, with Bryant leading USA to a gold-medal clinching victory and Gasol and his teammates settling for the silver medal.

“We’ve been playing all summer and obviously we had a long season,” Bryant said. “Phil does a good job of making sure we stay in good condition but that he doesn’t over exert us too much because of the long summer we had.

“I feel great. I could run all day. I’m in shape, so I’m ready to go.”
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Odom took it easy over the summer

Postby JSM on Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:48 am

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:So Kobe Bryant gets asked Tuesday how much time he really took off after the end of the Olympics, and he proceeds to explain that he dared not take too much time off because he did not want to lose the premium physical state that he had going and it’s not wise to have to rebuild everything.

A few minutes later and a few feet over, Lamar Odom is asked about his offseason. His response:

“I had to relax, you know. I had to let that [knee] tendinitis calm down and just take some time off. I feel good.

“Sometimes, with that tendinitis, the best thing to do is absolutely nothing. Just lay on the beach with some good company and a Corona, if that’s your preference, whatever. Just kind of just chill out, take it easy and kind of build back up from the beginning. Because tendinitis is funny the way it reacts, I don’t mind letting myself — I’m not saying get out of shape but letting myself just chill out a little bit, just to build everything back up.”

That’s the independent-thinking L.O. for you. He’s a really, really nice guy who has proved to be something of a quandary for Phil Jackson and everyone else to figure out. This season, in the weird spot of being sort of a lame-duck player, Odom is going in way too worried about whether he remains a starter. Just do your thing, and it’ll all work out.

I do not believe Jackson is just trying to motivate Odom by floating this idea of starting Trevor Ariza over Odom. Jackson really came away from the NBA Finals failures thinking that Odom’s versatility and fast-breaking prowess could be a boon off the bench.

Here’s what I wrote back in June after Odom’s season-ending exit meeting with Jackson …

“It’s even conceivable that Jackson – who concerns himself far more with having his best players on the floor at the end of games than the beginning – would start Trevor Ariza, Luke Walton or Vladimir Radmanovic at small forward and move Odom to the bench. From there, Odom could work more with the Jordan Farmar-led second unit that plays the up-tempo game Jackson believes suits Odom best.”

Jackson declined to specify his plans, but he did obliquely say: “People will have to sacrifice.”
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Re: 9/30: Training Camp Reports - Day 1

Postby jazzy1 on Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:06 am

Things are going well, I wanna hear reports on how Bynum is looking and doing paired with Gasol. Thats the big mystery.

Kobe really needs to pace himself, everyone breaks down and he hasn't really rested at all for a year straight.

LO is just lazy he's not gotten an ounce better as a player since he became a Laker. He doesn't have the work ethic. For the sake of his psyche I hope he transitions well back into the sf spot because I don't want that tension in the team about his role and a contract.
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Fisher draws the line

Postby JSM on Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:17 am

Janis Carr of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:Despite being in top physical condition, the last thing 34-year-old Derek Fisher needs or wants is to run more than absolutely necessary.

So when the crop of rookies cheated on the lines during drills Tuesday, which resulted in more line drills, Fish held an impromtu meeting with the young guys and instructed them to make sure their foot is well over the baseline.

“They were doing this,” Fish said, showing how their feet came six inches or so short of the line. “I told them that this (coming up short) is where we were last June.”

For anyone who might forgotten last season (fat chance), the Lakers came up short against the Celtics in the Finals.
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Re: Fisher draws the line

Postby Kobe Bryant 8 on Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:28 am

JSM wrote:
Janis Carr of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:Despite being in top physical condition, the last thing 34-year-old Derek Fisher needs or wants is to run more than absolutely necessary.

So when the crop of rookies cheated on the lines during drills Tuesday, which resulted in more line drills, Fish held an impromtu meeting with the young guys and instructed them to make sure their foot is well over the baseline.

“They were doing this,” Fish said, showing how their feet came six inches or so short of the line. “I told them that this (coming up short) is where we were last June.”

For anyone who might forgotten last season (fat chance), the Lakers came up short against the Celtics in the Finals.


Anyone else find it funny Fisher is talking about proper foot placement near a line?
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Re: Fisher draws the line

Postby therealdeal on Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:25 am

Kobe Bryant 8 wrote:
JSM wrote:
Janis Carr of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:Despite being in top physical condition, the last thing 34-year-old Derek Fisher needs or wants is to run more than absolutely necessary.

So when the crop of rookies cheated on the lines during drills Tuesday, which resulted in more line drills, Fish held an impromtu meeting with the young guys and instructed them to make sure their foot is well over the baseline.

“They were doing this,” Fish said, showing how their feet came six inches or so short of the line. “I told them that this (coming up short) is where we were last June.”

For anyone who might forgotten last season (fat chance), the Lakers came up short against the Celtics in the Finals.


Anyone else find it funny Fisher is talking about proper foot placement near a line?


I'm not going to pick on Fish for correcting these guys... They're supposed to be pushing harder for the last spot and that is just a small thing that a coach is going to love to see. The one guy that steps over that line instead of stopping short looks pretty damn good to a coach...
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Re: Fisher draws the line

Postby wallangong on Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:35 am

therealdeal wrote:I'm not going to pick on Fish for correcting these guys... They're supposed to be pushing harder for the last spot and that is just a small thing that a coach is going to love to see. The one guy that steps over that line instead of stopping short looks pretty damn good to a coach...


you gotta admit it's kinda funny. Fisher is infamous for making a 3...errrrr, nope...toe was on the line, make it a 2. it happens on average at least once a a game :man10:
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Vujacic sprains left ankle

Postby JSM on Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:46 pm

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:
Sasha Vujacic sprained his left ankle during the Tuesday night scrimmage. It was diagnosed as a moderate sprain, but Vujacic suggested he could be back in action in a few days.

Vujacic ran into DJ Mbenga during a baseline drive when Mbenga tried to take a charge. Vujacic said it’s an area on the outside of his ankle that is causing sharp pain.

“I was going to the basket,” Vujacic said. “Hard to believe, but I was going to the basket.”

Vujacic noted that he should be able to do more of that now that he’s “210″ — and to be completely honest with you, I initially thought he said he was “too tan.”

It’s no coincidence that a moment later when Lamar Odom was joking with Vujacic about getting hurt, Vujacic asked Odom to tell reporters how Vujacic got hurt.

“Tanning?” Odom deadpanned.
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