The Lakers were excited to renew their chase for the franchise’s 17th title at their first official group practice in months on Saturday, but they did so without two key members of their rotation: Dwight Howard and Danny Green.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel confirmed on his Zoom call with the media that Howard had made it to Orlando and joined the team at their hotel in Disney World, but shortly after, Bill Oram of the Athletic reported that Howard and Green had not practiced:
Neither Danny Green nor Dwight Howard participated in the Lakers first practice in Orlando this evening due to testing glitches. Team hopes to have both of them available to practice tomorrow.— Bill Oram (@billoram) July 11, 2020
Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times followed up with more info:
To clarify on the Lakers' testing situation, Dwight Howard needs an extra test because he did not travel with the team so that's why he was not available today. Danny Green's test had an error and there should be more clarity on his situation later tonight.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 12, 2020
So don’t panic yet, as it’s nearly certain we will get a further update on the situation tomorrow.
We’re Talking ‘Bout Practice?
In other news, here is the update you probably wanted from practice: We’ve got footage. It’s not much, but we finally have video of the Lakers in the gym shooting together.
Who would have imagined that would feel so novel at the beginning of the season? Not this blogger, but it was cool to see nonetheless.
And at this point, even still photos can probably scratch the basketball itch we’ve all had:
We are so, so close to having basketball back. It still doesn’t feel real.
What’s in a Name?
One of the other major updates from the Lakers on Saturday was that we now know what three players will be choosing from the NBA’s pre-approved social justice phrases for the backs of their jerseys.
Here are the ones that have been revealed so far:
LeBron James — (No social justice message, he didn’t like the options)
JaVale McGee — Respect Us
Danny Green — How Many More?
Green talked about why he made his choice on his most recent podcast (below), and James and McGee talked about their decisions in the links above:
We will surely get more updates on what other players are choosing in the days to come, so stay tuned.
Black Lives Matter
Normally this is a zany, fun column, but we’d be doing the Lakers, their players and this entire community a disservice if we didn’t also share the important video the team’s coaching staff dropped on Saturday morning.
Handy and Kidd shared the video on their social media channels as well:
There has been a lot of talk about players’ advocacy heading into the bubble, and that’s no less important in the wake of this. But kudos to the coaching staff for making it clear that basketball being back doesn’t mean the fight against systemic racism is over. Far from it. And it’s on everyone to fight it.
Black Lives Matter. Say it every day, until everyone gets it.