PodKast: Minutes, Kobe and A-Rod, LeBron the Laker (?)

With the regular season just around the corner and Dwight Howard's debut reportedly even closer, you best believe we're so excited and we just can't hide it. And just like the Pointer Sisters, we're channeling that emotion through the use of studio technology, microphones and sibling flavor. (We'll spare everyone, however, the agony of any singing.)

The show can be heard by clicking on the module and a breakdown of talking points is below:

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- (1:57): Last season, the minutes logged by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were, shall we say, high and the toll was obvious. To some degree, this was the byproduct of Mike Brown trying to maximize the best players from an imperfect roster. But there were also situations where, with an eye towards the bigger picture, Brown could have limited that PT and chose not to. This preseason has offered mixed signals about Brown easing up on a veteran roster. Will he take cues from his mentor Gregg Popovich and occasionally risk a loss for the sake of keeping his team fresh for the playoffs?

- (8:40): The New York Yankees were recently swept out of the ALCS by the Detroit Tigers (editor's note: HA!), and no player ended up the face of this disaster more than third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who was eventually lifted from the lineup altogether. However, the slump can't be blamed on Kobe Bryant's lack of concern. The Mamba and A-Rod have been friends for a while, and 24 attempted to give his fellow superstar a pep talk.

Per Ramona Shelburne:

"I just say to him, 'You're Alex Rodriguez. You're A-Rod. You're one of the best to ever do it,'" Bryant said. "I think sometimes he kind of forgets that and wants to try to do the right thing all the time. Which is the right team attitude to have. But other times you really have to put your head down and say, 'Hell with it' and just do your thing.

"We're different. But you're talking about, 'He's one of the best to ever play.' I think really the difference is, sometimes he forgets he's the best. ... Where, I don't."

Those words of encouragement also offer a revealing glimpse of the psyche that makes Bryant the unflappable player he is. The guy never stops believing in his abilities. Period.

We also marvel how, at least as of a few years ago, Derek Fisher had never been to Bryant's house. I don't doubt the sincerity and depths of their friendship, but still, that's just so "Kobe."

- (19:00): Could Bryant's ferocious confidence result in one day mistaking himself for an elite player when the numbers and performances irrefutably say otherwise?

- (21:31): ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst recently reported how several league execs think the Lakers, with several contracts expiring after the 2014 season, plan to make a run at LeBron James, should The King opt out of his deal. This scenario remains highly speculative for now, but here's a question worth pondering. Many a Lakers fan has resented LeBron over the years for what's been perceived as a premature coronation that stole some of Kobe's rightful thunder. After despising James for so long, could they learn to love him in purple and gold?

Also, were the Lakers able to land LBJ, does that make Kobe more or less likely to return?