PodKast: On Kobe's team, flopping, and endorsements LeBron doesn't want

Aaaaaaaaaaand, we're off!

The 2012-13 season kicked off this week with Monday's media day, and overall it's been a good week for the Lakers. Dwight Howard is participating more fully in practice than most expected when the trade came down in early August, raising the odds for an early season, or even an opening night, debut in purple and gold.

Steve Blake, meanwhile, is back on the floor following his parking lot mishap last month, returning in 10 days instead of the three weeks originally projected.

Still, with four All-Stars and a new offense to integrate, questions of chemistry abound and right away headlines were made as Kobe Bryant declared the Lakers "my team" on day 1. The reaction -- in some cases overreaction -- was swift. And that's where we start (after Andy tells a quick story of his airport encounter with his favorite member of the 'What's Happening!!' cast) in the newest podcast.

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We touched on those comments in the latest edition of The Forum, and expand on it here. (3:05) In terms of practical impact on actual basketball games, what does Kobe's declaration actually mean? We asked Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, and Bryant himself at practice this week. (7:45)

We're big on the idea of waiting to see how guys actually play before making judgments, but is there anything Kobe might (realistically) say that should cause genuine concern? (11:45)

The NBA has introduced it's new flopping rules. Good idea or not? Where could the whole thing go goofy? Yes, we all want to punish the bad floppers, but shouldn't the truly outstanding/absurd ones be somehow rewarded? (17:00)

Finally, we find a LeBron James branded product we are absolutely certain LeBron James didn't actually endorse. (22:00)