Dwight Howard and Steve Nash -- the Lakers two high-profile off-season signings -- are ready to make their regular season debuts with the team, but Los Angeles might be without star Kobe Bryant in Tuesday night's opener against Dallas at Staples Center.
Bryant is a game-time decision after he suffered a foot injury last week against Sacramento during the Lakers' 0-8 preseason. He did not practice Monday, but went through a shootaround Tuesday morning and said he has an 85-percent chance of playing.
[UPDATE: 7:49 P.M.] Bryant started Tuesday's game.
"Right now, I just look at him as an assistant coach," coach Mike Brown said. "He might not like to hear that because he'd have to take a big paycut, but he's been in tune, involved with practice every day."
Third-year guard Jodie Meeks would likely start in Bryant's place if the NBA's fifth-leading all-time scorer cannot play.
Howard appeared to be the Lakers' main health concern during the preseason. The off-season acquisition from Orlando played in just two pre-season games as he recovered from back surgery.
Howard is ready to start Tuesday, Brown said.
"I think all of us are ready (for) the popcorn and the lights to come on tomorrow,'' Howard said Monday. "It's not going to come overnight. We all understand that. We just have to stay patient through the whole process. We have to keep working, and we'll be fine."
Nash -- a two-time league MVP who joined LA in a deal with Western Conference rival Phoenix -- played sparingly during the preseason.
The Lakers and Mavericks are scheduled to tip-off at 7:30 p.m.
Some Fans Still Waiting for Cable Deal
The start of the regular season comes after the Lakers struggled through a winless preseason -- one that fans probably didn't want to see, even if they could. During the preseason, only Time Warner Cable subscribers could view the games.
Time Warner Cable bought the rights to most of the team’s home and away games last year. Time Warner Cable developed TWC SportsNet to broadcast the games, but asked carriers to pay up to $3.95 to carry the games.
New deals were announced during the weekend that will allow more fans to watch the games on television, but DirecTV, Dish Network, Comcast (which owns NBC) and Cox still haven’t reached a deal with Time Warner to show the games.
As of Tuesday, AT&T U-Verse, Charter, Verizon Fios and Bright House Networks had worked out deals with Time Warner Cable to show the games.
Tuesday's game is scheduled for broadcast on TNT.