News that should come as a surprise to no one, but finally official nonetheless: Kobe Bryant will be ready to go when the Lakers start training camp early next month, according to Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding.
Bryant's recovery from his latest devastating late-career injury, a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, is complete—and he currently has no physical limitations as he gears up for what he expects will be his final NBA season.
Bryant has been medically cleared for all basketball activities, according to league sources.
After his body has taken him to basketball hell and back over and over in recent years, that's as much as Bryant could have hoped would happen for him this offseason.
In late August, Bryant was cleared to shoot for the first time since tearing his rotator cuff this past January, his third season-ending injury in as many years. Only a major setback could have kept Bryant from being ready to go by the start of this season, which was a long shot for a guy who is manic about taking care of his body.
Despite an influx of young talent and the addition of a couple of veterans added to the team in the offseason, the success of this Lakers team will likely hinge in varying degrees on how well Bryant plays himself. Injuries limited his time on the floor over the course of the last three season, and the lingering effects of those injuries proved to hurt his consistency and efficiency while on the floor.
From what is understood, this is likely Bryant's last new beginning. Along with his recent injury history and advanced age, his contract with the Lakers ends after this season, and it's unlikely that the Lakers bring him back.
While this iteration of the Lakers isn't a playoff team on the surface, Bryant has an opportunity to go out with a youthful roster that, at the very least, should be a fun team to watch. D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson will look to lead a youth charge while Lou Williams, Roy Hibbert and Nick Young should all have their respective roles with the team.
In the midst of it all will be Bryant, though. With Byron Scott still running the team, the offense will likely continue to run through Bean, who made a conscious effort to become a playmaker for his teammates instead of himself in spots last season. It might be Bryant's last year in the league, it might not be his best, but when he has the rock, it will definitely be entertaining.
Phillip Barnett featuring Phillip Barnett.