Winderman: Lakers shouldn’t trade Bynum now because they’ll need to later

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Let’s see:

You don’t trade Andrew Bynum because it compromises the Lakers’ size advantage.

You don’t trade Andrew Bynum because it compromises the Lakers’ already questionable defense.

You don’t trade Andrew Bynum for Carmelo Anthony because Jim Buss loves the guy to pieces.

Fair enough. All (except the latter) legitimate points.

But here’s another one: You don’t trade Andrew Bynum now because you will need him to be available for a trade later.

Putting aside the possibilities of Carmelo Anthony, instead consider the possibilities of Dwight Howard. A Magic center jumping to the brighter lights of the Lakers? Never heard that one before.

To combine two rumors into one (sort of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of conjecture), consider that Howard has the right to opt out of his contract after next season. That should make Howard next season’s Anthony, a player who will find himself in his own whirlwind of midseason rumors.

But then consider the possibilities. Having lived through the Shaq saga, the Magic is well aware of how it all can come apart if left to blind faith. Yes, Dwight is insisting he isn’t thinking about going anywhere right now.

Right now, of course, he doesn’t have the option. He will at the end of 2011-12.

So then merge today’s hottest rumor (Carmelo to the Lakers for Bynum!) to next season’s hysteria (Dwight leaving the Magic!), and then consider this: Bynum for Howard in 2012.

Unlike with the Shaq episode, the Magic not only get a replacement in the middle, but a young replacement, one, who, when you consider the alternatives, might instantly become the best center in the Eastern Conference (no, really, seriously, with all due respect to Andrew Bogut, Joakim Noah, Al “His Father Says He’s Not a Center” Horford and Brook Lopez).

Beyond that, the possibility of landing Howard could prove so enticing to the Lakers that they might even be willing to absorb the dreadful mistake currently known as Gilbert Arenas’ contract. The Magic might even be able to squeeze Lamar Odom out of the deal.

Of course, move Bynum now for Carmelo and that opportunity goes out the window for the Lakers, who then only would have an extended Carmelo to offer for Howard. (It sort of would be like where the Knicks stand now, without first-round picks and much in the way of tradable assets because of last summer’s free-agency desperation.)

No, Dwight Howard isn’t going anywhere right now.

But he could be in play next season, and that should have the Lakers playing this season out and instead considering the possibilities of next February.

And years beyond.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Hours after game-winning tip, restaurant told Giannis Antetokounmpo he had to wait

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Giannis Antetokounmpo was the toast of Milwaukee Sunday night: With the game on the line after a Boston comeback, he tipped in a missed Malcolm Brogdon lay-up that proved to be the game winner. (Jayson Tatum was in good position for Boston, he tried to move Antetokounmpo out of his rebounding spot, it just didn’t matter.)

Well, you would have thought Antetokounmpo was the toast of the town, but when he went to BelAir Cantina (a chainlet of Mexican restaurants in the area) he was told he had to wait. And wait. To the point he eventually left.

As you might imagine, the 6’11” Antetokounmpo walking into a restaurant a couple hours after tying up the series with the Celtics drew fast attention on social media. So did the fact he couldn’t get service.

First, good on Antetokounmpo for not pulling the “do you know who I am?” line. He was reportedly unassuming and just left after a while. No hard feelings, his girlfriend later tweeted this out.

As for BelAir Cantina, I kinda get it — I worked my way through college as a waiter and bartender. The restaurant got slammed, everyone working there was in the weeds, and things fall through the cracks. It happens.

But when the 6’11” toast of the town walks in, he cannot slip through the cracks. Cannot. Rather than social media posts about him not getting served and walking out, there would have been pictures all over of him eating the lamb barbacoa or whatever. It’s good for business. If you give the man a little special treatment after the game, nobody is going to complain (except the people who were going to complain about everything anyway… in that sense working in a restaurant was good preparation for me to use Twitter someday).

 

 

Kevin Durant apparently likes Instagram comment critical of Russell Westbrook (photo)

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Last summer Kevin Durant tweeted and deleted that the Thunder’s surrounding cast around him and Russell Westbrook was lacking when he played for Oklahoma City. Those tweets – another criticized Thunder coach Billy Donovan – appeared to be intended to come from a burner account, but Durant said he actually meant to send them from his own account.

Now, he apparently liked an Instagram comment with the opposite message about Westbrook. (I say apparently, because I can’t verify the authenticity of these screenshots, but they at least pass the initial smell test.)

“Like” is Instagram’s word. Maybe Durant uses the function for a different purpose – to note a comment, rather than endorse it.

Perhaps, Durant misread the conversation. The comment he liked rejected the notion that the Thunder were “subpar,” but it criticized Westbrook for them not living up to their ability. Perhaps, Durant focused on the comment sticking up for Oklahoma City overall and missed the part about Westbrook being the shortcoming. Skimming that conversation, it’s a plausible mistake.

Maybe Durant just actually hit the like button. It’s easy enough to do.

Or maybe Durant and Westbrook haven’t really gotten less hostile toward each other. Maybe Durant meant to like this from a burner account.

Those nefarious possibilities are the scintillating ones.

After getting crushed for those tweets last summer and repeatedly downplaying his feud with Westbrook, the Warriors star clearly wanted to move on from these storylines. But all those questions have suddenly reemerged. Perhaps for legitimate reasons, perhaps for benign ones. But we won’t know more about Durant’s intent until he answers to this.

Amir Johnson on South Beach: 2006 Pistons ‘let the streets beat us’

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Amir Johnson is a savvy veteran on the young 76ers.

On the 2006 Pistons, he was a scarcely used rookie straight out of high school.

But he was learning lessons he’d apply to his current role.

Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:

Philadelphia heeded Johnson’s advice. The 76ers won Games 3 and 4 in Miami to take a 3-1 series lead.

The Pistons went 0-3 in Miami during the six-game 2006 Eastern Conference finals. There was little shame in losing to those Heat. They pushed Detroit to seven games in the 2005 conference finals and were – with Dwyane Wade transcendent while Shaquille O’Neal remained in his prime – even better the following year.

But too much partying is a major charge and a somewhat surprising one. The Pistons were led by the same veteran core – Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace – that made the previous two NBA Finals and won the 2004 title. They’d been around long enough to know better.

Gregg Popovich to miss Spurs-Warriors Game 5

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has missed Games 3 and 4 of his team’s first-round series against the Warriors following the death of his wife, Erin.

Unsurprisingly, he won’t coach the Spurs as they leave San Antonio for Game 5 tomorrow at Golden State.

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Popovich should take all the time he needs. Ettore Messina is capable as acting coach, and Popovich being with his family now is more important anyway.

This will probably be the final game of the series. Up 3-1, the Warriors are the better team and at home.