New PodKast: Matt Barnes, grading the offseason, and dodgeball

I'm not going to lie -- by the time July 28 rolls around, it's not unusual for news out of El Segundo to dry up, marking the start of those long, barren late summer weeks before training camp. Fortunately, the Lakers continue to provide sustenance in the form of important happenings, distributed very nicely. Nothing too clumped together.

This week is no exception. The Lakers introduced Matt Barnes to the L.A. media, the latest addition in what has been a very productive summer for the back-to-back champs. Andy and I -- after a brief detour into Minnesota GM David Kahn's extremely questionable statements about new PF Michael Beasley's history of marijuana use -- break down Barnes' press conference, and what he'll do for the Lakers this year.

From there, we grade the team's offseason. They were the best team in the league last year, but how much better are they today? With Shannon Brown still on the radar, are the Lakers better situated for a title run this year than in '09-'10? What about the competition? We take a look at the contenders in both conferences. The W.C. is a little weaker overall, but needless to say things back east have gone a little top heavy. (Then again, L.A. only has to beat one of those teams to get another ring.)

What about Ron Artest playing dodgeball with all the ability of the the kid picked last in gym class? Is his inability to integrate himself into the offense for Team Zankou Chicken a bad sign when it comes to finding a happier place in the triangle?

Plus, my inability to remember adding visual flavor to the show don't work because you can't actually see what I'm doing, and shameless reminder our Saturday show, ESPNLA.com On Air, will be on 710 ESPN radio from 10 am to 1 pm this week. Bonus hour!