NBA Finals, Lakers Celtics: Andrew Bynum's knee, same as it ever was, same as it ever was…

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Thumbnail image for Bynum_Lopez.jpgAndrew Bynum’s knee is not getting better without surgery.

You can drain the fluid out of it, you can give the man painkillers, you can bring in a voodoo priestess and cut the head off a live chicken near it, none of that matters. It is what it is. A torn meniscus.

So no shock what Bynum said about his knee after having the fluid drained, as reported by Dave McMenamin at ESPNLosAngeles.

“It feels about the same, to be honest,” Bynum said…. “The procedure was good. I think I just need to fight through it until we get the surgery done. This is the last hurrah; this is the last show, so I’m ready to give everything.”

Bynum should be better off this series than the last one. The Suns game plan is to put big men on the move — have them try to stick with Amare Stoudemire or Robin Lopez off the pick-and-roll. Make the big men move and recover fast. Bynum was exposed in that setting.

That is not what the Celtics do with Kendrick Perkins. They ask him to be big. He sets screens, but he is no Stoudemire as a threat on the roll. Bynum can still be big, he can still grab rebounds and clog the lane when Rajon Rondo drives. He can still do a lot of the things asked of him this series — not as athletically, but he can do them

At the end of the day, he is still tall, his arms are still long. And the Lakers need that.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.