Monday, September 20, 2010
CAMP LOOMS, STILL NO SIGN OF SLAVA
So it's what, about five days before the start of Lakers training camp and normally it would be a time of high anticipation. Before the advent of instant web information, I'd pore over paper sports pages, looking for news about camp invites and more recently, I'd keep a running list in a word doc and revisit it in the dog days of summer, wondering if somebody from the past would take one more shot, hoping against slim hope. And it would happen now and then. Mostly not, mostly just bodies to bang around but you might recognize a name here or there, guys from summer league or journeymen vets or just undrafted rookies. In recent years there were names like Maurice Carter and Jamal Sampson, Eric Cheonowith or Dickie Simpkins, Janero Pargo, Adam Parada, Tierre Brown, Nick Sheppard, Will Conroy and Mike Penberthy, Paul Shirley (yes, that Paul Shirley) and Guy Rucker, Devin Green, Al Guyton, Michael Fey and Tony Gaffney. And more, plenty more and sometimes these guys would get signed and every now and then they'd crack the rotation and actually get an option picked up, maybe even enjoy a little success in the league, like Pargo who still comes up annually on some Lakers fans' wish lists.
Not this year though. This year we got 14 slots filled already and it's highly unlikely we'll carry the maximum 15. Mathematically possible, but nobody would seriously consider it. Even so, you'd have expected the typical camp fodder announcements by now, especially this close in. But there's been next to nothing. Henry Abbott on True Hoops broke the story of Russell Hicks and it spread like web wildfire, hitting every Lakers outlet from major to micro and all this for a 7-foot lug who's played about 20 minutes in the D-league and if you've heard of him before you're some kind of savant. And now there's mention of one other signing, 6-2 guard Anthony Roberson who's knocked around a little with Memphis, Golden State and the Knicks.
That's it as far as I can tell. Hicks and Roberson. We can expect more in the next couple days, there has to be some live bodies for target practice, but this isn't like any camp I can remember. I wouldn't swap a bunch of hopefuls for what we have of course, we're coming into the season with a seriously deep and balanced roster, all ready to roll out and do its job.
With so little to write about, the various Lakers sites are busying themselves with blogger profiles, article links (the cyber version of the AP), obscure 80's music videos, space-eating polls (vote on Phil's beard!) and of course, the kind of stuff you'll find here at Searching for Slava which so far has been a bunch of made-up nonsense and nothing that really gets to the heart of whatever actually happened to our Ukrainian bomber. Maybe we'll all get lucky and the loquacious one will stroll into camp on September 25th like he'd never been gone at all, ready to fire at will and reclaim his rightful place on the bench.