Barnes, Fisher Say Hello
Now healthy and re-energized after the long layoff, Barnes showed up to the team's practice facility on Friday afternoon for a workout, and took a few questions before hand with media holdovers from the earlier press conference for Mitch Kupchak and Mike Brown:
Q: On things starting to feel "real":
Barnes: I'm excited. I took my physical this morning. As much as I hate physicals, that means we're about to start playing. So, I'm very excited. I just wanted to come in here and smell the gym today and smell my locker and see how dirty it was and listen to Gary [Vitti] run his mouth. It's just good to be back. I'm excited.
Q: On if his knee was examined closely:
Barnes: Not really because I've seen them a few times this summer so my knee feels great. The last thing to come back was my jumping. The past 2-3 weeks I've been jumping like I used to. So I feel like I'm about 98-100 percent. I'm almost there.
Q: On the last two percent:
Barnes: Just getting that game shape. As hard as I try to work out, you can never simulate a training camp; you can never simulate a practice or NBA with what you're doing outside of [the official training facility without your NBA teammates]. So, that two percent will just be getting in game shape.
Q: On trade rumors:
Barnes: I've been hearing Dwight [Howard]. I've been hearing Baron [Davis]. I've been hearing stuff a lot lately. I've talked to both those guys and they want to be here [in Los Angeles] so we'll see what happens.
Q: On what he told Howard/Davis about what playing for the Lakers is like:
Barnes: A dream on and off the court. To be a Laker, there's nothing like it. To play in L.A., to be ready to get a ring, if you come here.
Q: On impact of the proposed 66-game schedule:
Barnes: "It's going to be tough. You can only hope that we're healthy, that's going to be a big key for us. Any time you try to cram things ... we're programmed a certain way, we've been doing it for a long time, so we know our bodies and what it takes to be ready at a certain point. With the unknown, it's kind of changed everyone's work out regimens. We just hope that everyone comes in in good enough shape to be ready for training camp and that will carry over to the preseason games.
Q: On if playing in pick up games throughout the summer and fall months was enough?
Barnes: You can never really simulate anything we're going to do on this (practice) court or at the Staples Center. No matter how hard you play or where you play at, it's just not the same intensity. I think for the most part, in working out with Ron (Metta World Peace), talking to Kobe (Bryant) and L.O. (Lamar Odom), and everybody is doing their part to be in shape and you'll get that final step when you come in here (for camp).
Q: On if playing on so many teams in his career will help him make the adjustment to Mike Brown's system:
Barnes: It won't be hard for me. I do my homework in the summer time to try to be ready for what's going on. I know that I'm going to need to play defense, I'm going to need to bring intensity, rebound and knock down open shots. Even though it's a new offense, we know who the ball is going to go through and what we're going to need to do to help them.
Note: ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin provided the transcription for the first few questions.
FISHER STOPS BY:
It's been a while since Derek Fisher set foot in the team's practice facility, but the reporters that inhabited the space on Friday afternoon had seen quite a lot of him over the past few months.
As President of the NBPA, Fisher played the most critical of roles as the players union and NBA worked to negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was tentatively agreed upon early last Saturday morning.
As such, it's finally time for Fisher to turn his attention to basketball, certainly a relief for the Lakers' co-captain.
"I learned a great deal, but hopefully next week will be back to basketball and back to business as usual," he said. "That's the part I'm really thinking about. It was an exhausting ordeal, but I'm still in a great space in terms of getting to know Coach Brown, getting to that point where we want to be as a team. That's where the energy will come from."
When Brown was asked about Fisher's state of mind heading into training camp during his and Mitch Kupchak's Friday morning's press conference, Brown said that he doesn't worry too much about Fisher, whom he trusts as a veteran who has always taken care of his business.
Brown did use the word "possibly" instead of "probably" when asked if Fisher would be his starter, but may have simply been implying that things work work themselves out during training camp.
Eager to get back onto the court, Fisher didn't talk for long, but joked that he was smart enough to at least throw the media a bone with a few comments: "I've learned not to have this much media waste a trip."