Bynum has knee surgery

Andrew Bynum underwent arthroscopic surgery to mend torn meniscus in his right knee Wednesday. The Lakers said they expect the 7-foot center to be available on a limited basis during training camp and to be fully recovered by the start of the regular season. Training camp begins Sept. 25, with the regular season set to begin in late October. (The schedule will be released next month). David Altchek, Bynum’s personal physician, performed the surgery in New York. Bynum was injured during Game 6 of the Lakers’ opening-round playoff victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in April. He did not miss a playoff game despite having limited strength in his knee and he averaged 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in 24.4 minutes. He averaged a career-best 15 points on 57 percent shooting in 65 regular-season games. He also averaged 8.3 rebounds in 30.4 minutes.

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Bryant has knee surgery

Kobe Bryant underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last week, the Lakers announced today. Reporters asked GM Mitch Kupchak about the possibility that Bryant would have surgery earlier today and Kupchak admitted he didn’t know the answer. After investigating, the Lakers learned Bryant did indeed have surgery. It;s the same knee he had drained during the Lakers’ first-round playoff victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in April. The team said Bryant should be fully recovered by the start of training camp.

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Fisher: “I’m ready to do the job”

Derek Fisher hasn’t spoken publicly since signing a three-season, $10.5 million contract to return to the Lakers earlier this month, but he talked with several reporters for a few minutes during a break this morning at his youth basketball camp in Hawthorne.

Here’s some of what he had to say about returning to the Lakers:

“I definitely feel like I made the right decision (to re-sign). Kobe (Bryant) and I worked extremely hard to be in the position we’re in, in our careers. He’s obviously much more accomplished in his career, but we have a bond I didn’t want to break. … I’m excited about these next three years. I’m excited about what I can accomplish off the court in the next three years, too.”

“I guess maybe there was some frustration in how the negotiations were characterized (in the media) more than anything. Most of the time I wasn’t overly frustrated (by the slow-moving talks). I guess I was surprised at how much influence you guys (reporters) have. There were things I read that weren’t true and there were things I read that were partially true. It had to come from somewhere. I know it wasn’t coming from me. So that was a little eye-opening.”

“I don’t want to say I was frustrated. I don’t think that’s the right word. I clearly understand that this is a business and they (the Lakers) have a job to do in terms of negotiating contracts and trying to re-sign guys. I fully respect it. For me, it’s about bringing that mentality when I show up to work. It’s about business. It’s not as personal as you might think it is. You have a job to do. For the next three years, I’m ready to do my job the best I can do it. I still have the same goals in terms of helping the team. It’s just about winning games.”

“The pieces we’ve been able to add (free agents Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff) were key pieces for what we need. I never really enjoyed the process of losing teammates and having new guys come in and then saying we got better because I’ve been to close to my teammates to say that. … I do think all three guys plus the two guys we drafted on the second round (Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks), are all going to help us in different ways. … It’s pretty exciting to think about.”

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Barnes signs, too

Matt Barnes signed tonight with the Lakers. The deal is for $1.77 million next season and then about $2 milion for 2011-12 at his option. He joins Theo Ratliff, who was signed earlier today, and Steve Blake, who put pen to paper, earlier this month. Those three represent a significant upgrade to the Lakers’ second unit, which got run off the court far too often last season. About all Mitch Kupchak needs to do now is sign second-round draft picks Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks to complete the Lakers’ 13-man roster.

Not a bad summer for Kupchak, who didn’t have a lot of money to toss at free agents. He had the mid-level exception of $5.8 million and the veteran’s minimum of $1.35 million, and that was it. He used $4 million on Blake and then $1.77 million on Barnes. He gave Ratliff the $1.35 veteran’s minimum. The draft picks could come as cheap as a little less than $500,000 apiece next season. They have to make the team to get paid.

So, the Lakers will say goodbye and good luck to Shannon Brown (who is as yet unsigned), Jordan Farmar (who signed a three-season, $12-million deal with the New Jersey Nets), Josh Powell (who is about to sign with the Atlanta Hawks), DJ Mbenga (unsigned) and Adam Morrison (unsigned).

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Ratliff signs, Powell departs

Forward/center Theo Ratliff signed a one-season deal with the Lakers today, giving the team a replacement for Josh Powell, who is about to sign with the Atlanta Hawks. The deal is for $1.3 million for the 15-year veteran who played last season with the San Antonio Spurs and the Charlotte Bobcats. The signing of Ratliff gives the Lakers 10 players under contract. It’s possible they could sign forwards Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks, a pair of second-round draft picks, and then add a low-budget guard to fill out the roster.

Or more likely they could land Matt Barnes with the remaining $1.7 million they have left over from the mid-level exception of $5.8 million after signing Steve Blake for $16 million over four seasons earlier this month. Barnes could make his decision Friday.

Ratliff on joining the two-time defending champions: “I’ve had a very long and a very rewarding career, and joining a storied and legendary franchise such as the Lakers adds an even more special element. I look forward to playing for Coach (Phil) Jackson and with such great players such as Kobe (Bryant), Derek (Fisher), Pau (Gasol), Lamar (Odom), Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum and all my other new teammates, and hopefully to helping the Lakers win a third straight championship.”

GM Mitch Kupchak on Ratliff: “Theo has long been considered one of the best defensive big men in the league. He is a consummate professional and a welcome addition to our team. Together with Bynum, Gasol, Odom and Artest, he gives us a formidable and deep front line.”

Ratliff averaged 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds in 49 games last season.
To be precise, he signed for $1,352,181, the veteran’s minimum for 2010-11.

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No way CP3 joins the champs

So, New Orleans point guard Chris Paul has the Lakers listed among his trade-me-to destinations. So, he’s fed up with the Hornets’ losing ways and wants to join forces with another superstar and try to win a championship. So, here are two big reasons why he’s not going to be traded to the two-time defending champion Lakers:

First, Paul is one of those guys who has to have the ball in his hands all the time. He dribbles and drives and passes and handles the ball all the time. He’s great at it, no doubt about it. But that’s not going to work in the Lakers’ offense and there’s no way Phil Jackson, who is putting off retirement for one more season to chase one more threepeat, is going to scrap the triangle to allow Paul to play his pick-and-roll game. Can you imagine Kobe Bryant standing off to the side of the court while Paul runs the pick and roll with Pau Gasol about 40 times a game? Ha. Not happening. No way, no how.

Second, Jerry Buss would have to agree to gut the roster in order to acquire Paul, and there’s zero chance the Lakers’ owner would deal a package of players that might include Lamar Odom and/or Andrew Bynum to complete the trade. That’s far too steep a price for one player, albeit one very good player. This is a move the New York Knicks might make, giving them a pick-and-roll combination of Paul and Amare Stoudemire. Trades are always tough to make in the NBA because the salaries must line up in order to complete the deal. The Lakers would be forced to give up too much to get Paul.

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Free agent update

The search to fill the last few spots on the roster continues, with the team reportedly in the mix to secure the services of former UCLA standout Matt Barnes. The Lakers are one of five teams who have a shot at Barnes, an Orlando Magic free agent guard, according to ESPN.com. Barnes wrote Monday on Twitter that he was all but signed, sealed and delivered to the Toronto Raptors. A sign-and-trade deal between the Raptors and the Magic evidentally collapsed, however. The Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and the Lakers are among the contenders for Barnes. Toronto also still has a shot, according to the report.

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Odom goes to camp

Lamar Odom wasn’t feeling fit after the opening day of training camp with Team USA on Tuesday in Las Vegas. “I’m in horrible shape,” Odom told AOL Fanhouse. “But I’ll get in shape … I took some time off (following the Lakers winning their second straight title). This is my first basketball activity. I boxed and some things like that. But this is the first time I ran up and down the court, and actually had a basketball in my hand.” Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum skipped the camp and won’t play for the U.S. at the World Championships in Turkey next month. Pau Gasol also passed on an invite from his native Spain.

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Bynum sets surgery date

Andrew Bynum will undergo surgery July 28 to mend the torn meniscus in his right knee, the Lakers announced on their website. Bynum suffered the tear during the Lakers’ opening-round playoff victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in April. His strength and mobility suffered as did his production, but he did not miss a playoff game as the Lakers went on to win their second consecutive NBA title. He averaged 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in the playoffs, down from his regular-season totals of 15 points and 8.3 rebounds. Bynum’s surgery was said to be minor and he is expected to be fit by the start of training camp in late September.

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Summer league wrapup

The Lakers went 0-5 during summer league play in Las Vegas, which did nothing to harm the chances of second-round draft picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter to make the roster in October. Ebanks averaged 15 points on 42.4 percent shooting with 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in five starts. Caracter also made five starts, averaging 15.4 points on 59.3 percent shooting. He also averaged 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists. The Lakers lost to teams representing Detroit, Denver, New York, Sacramento and San Antonio. The teams are made up most of draft picks and free agents and a few veterans. Because they are second-round picks, Ebanks and Caracter don’t have guaranteed contracts awaiting them. In fact, even if the rookie forwards sign they will be paid less than $500,000 for next season, which could make them attractive additions to the salary-cap hampered Lakers.

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