TV viewing tip

Just got this email from someone pimping the show:

“Lakers guard Derek Fisher will serve as substitute host for Jim Rome on ESPN’s Jim Rome is Burning Friday at 1:30 p.m.Teammate Kobe Bryant will appear as an in-studio guest. Keeping with the NBA theme, Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings will also make a guest appearance.”

So, if you’re not busy at work or relaxing at the beach, check it out.

Best team in Lakers history?

Lakers owner Jerry Buss said this afternoon that the 2010-11 team could be the best in franchise history. He told reporters, “As of now, I feel like there’s a good chance this could be the best team we’ve ever had.” He also said he believes the Lakers could defeat LeBron James and the rejuvenated Miami Heat should they meet in the Finals. He said the Lakers’ $95-million payroll is money well spent. “You sit there and you say, ‘We really can’t afford this,'” he said. “Then somehow the next day we end up spending some more money and getting another playing and signing a new (contract) extension. At least it has softened my attitude toward women in the mall because I can’t turn down things either.”

Odom on U.S. roster

Team USA must make one more cut before finalizing its roster for the World Championships later this month in Turkey, but Lakers sixth man Lamar Odom advanced to the list of 13 on Sunday. Odom has said a couple of times that he’s out of shape, but he looked pretty active during the Americans’ exhibition rout Sunday of France at Madison Square Garden. Rudy Gay of Memphis and the Clippers’ Eric Gordon looked sharp, too. The final 13 traveled to Madrid today for practices this week, plus exhibitions Saturday against Lithuania and Spain. There’s only exhibition against Greece in Athens on Aug. 25. The Americans open play in the World Championships Aug. 28 against Croatia.

Caracter signs

Derrick Caracter, a second-round draft pick from Texas-El Paso, signed today with the Lakers, giving the team 14 players on the roster for 2010-11. Like fellow forward Devin Ebanks, Caracter will make $473,604 next season and $736,420 if he makes the team in 2011-12. The rookies impressed the Lakers during summer-league play last month in Las Vegas, with Caracter averaging a team-leading 15.4 points and 8.6 rebounds in five games. Either or both could fill roles if Luke Walton’s back continues to give him trouble.

Barnes involved in tussle

Matt Barnes showed his feisty side during a pro-am game Wednesday night in San Francisco, reportedly slapping an opposing assistant coach in the face after a testy exchange along the sideline. Barnes was initially upset with a referee’s call and then the coach added to his frustration by joining the conversation. Barnes told AOL Fanhouse:

“Some people do too much or talk too much, and there’s only so much you can take. It’s hard. It’s definitely hard when the refs have it out for you, saying ‘Oh, you’re in the NBA, so you don’t get this (call) and we’re going to call this.’ Then the coach is talking and completely disrespecting me. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time I’ve got to keep my composure because I’m a professional and I get paid to do this. I lost my professionalism for a little while, but I regained my composure and we won a championship tonight.”

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Ebanks signs; Caracter next?

Devin Ebanks, one of the Lakers’ two second-round draft picks, signed with the team today. He is the 13th player on the roster, which is the league minimum. His contract is not guaranteed, but if he makes the team he will earn the rookie minimum of $473,604 for 2010-11. If he sticks with the team in 2011-12, he will make a little more than $730,000. The Lakers probably will sign Derrick Caracter, their other second-round pick, at some point before training starts Sept. 25. Last season, the team went with 13 on their roster. Ebanks (West Virginia) and Caracter (Texas-El Paso) each played well for the Lakers’ summer league team last month, with Ebanks earning an invitation to training camp.

Ariza on the move again

Trevor Ariza, who played a key role in the Lakers’ title run in 2008-09 before signing as a free agent with the Houston Rockets, was dealt Wednesday to the New Orleans Hornets. As some wiseacre pointed out, it means Ariza won’t have to be at Staples Center to see Ron Artest get his championship ring before the Lakers’ season-opener against Houston. It still boggles the mind that Ariza decided to jump from a championship ship for the same money and years that the Lakers then used to lure Artest from Houston last summer.

Brown press conference

Shannon Brown officially signed a two-season, $4.6-million contract with the Lakers today. Here are the highlights of his press conference in El Segundo:

Question: What led you to come back?
Brown: “All the rumors out there about everybody offering me $4 or $5 million and all of that, that’s not true. This is just the best situation for what was going on, a chance to win three NBA championships, in a great city to live in. Everything just felt right.”

Q: Did the stories bother you?
Brown: “It didn’t bother me at all. People will say anything to make a story. It didn’t bother me at all. It might have bothered the people who wanted me to come back, but I understood what was going on.”

Q: Have the moves this offseason made them better, particularly the bench?
Brown: “No doubt. That’s a major part of winning. Our bench has to come out and produce and make the team better when the starters are on the bench. I think we made the correct steps to winning another championship.”

Q: Did you and Kobe talk over the summer? What did he tell you?
Brown: “He definitely told me if I was to come back I was going to have a major role helping the bench. Helping the team was a major thing. … I noticed Kobe likes to bring in guys he got into it with, who have that same feistiness. … He really doesn’t have to say much more than that. He’s continuing to get better.”

Q: What have you been working on this summer?
Brown: “Everything. I’ve been working a lot more on skills. A lot of skill work. Obviously, everybody knows I can run and jump and all of that stuff. Now it’s more about skills and being able to solidify myself as a basketball player instead of an athlete.”

Q: Can you talk about being in this position and having options?
Brown: “This has been the best fit, the best spot, the best everything for me. I sat down and evaluated all the situations, from the money to the teams and my potential role, and this has been No. 1 on the list.”

Q: Did you see a hand specialist (about your injured right thumb)?
Brown: “Just as expected, everything is fine. I’ve worked out with it. I’m able to dribble and catch and shoot the ball and all of that stuff. The doc said somebody put in the paper that I might need surgery and I guess that was recent. That’s not true. I might have said that when it first happened, and that was a possibility, but that’s gone out the window now. It’s healed up pretty well.”

Q: How more difficult will it be to win again?
Brown: “They still have to come through us. To do it two times in a row is difficult. I know the third is going to be tougher. We have guys on the team that have done it already, coaches that have done it already. We have a lot of things to look back to, to build on for this season. I think everybody is looking forward to the challenge. We made some trades and brought some people in to help us to do that.”

Q: How important was being a part of history, part of a three-peat?
Brown: “It’s pretty special. It’s a lot of guys who came through this NBA, some lasted, some didn’t. Some played 15 years and can’t say they even made it to the Finals. The possibility of winning three NBA championships is something that will go down in history.”