Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers GM: We’re not moving Andrew Bynum. For anybody.


Back at the trade deadline, plenty of Lakers fans were willing to ship Andrew Bynum out the door in a trade. In March, as he has gotten healthy, he has averaged 12.6 points, on 64.2 percent shooting, plus 14.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. Now, those same Lakers fans would never dream of moving him. Why would you even think that?

And you wonder how Lakers fans end up on these lists.

Fortunately for those impatient Lakers fans (and occasional impatient superstars) Mitch Kupchak is a calm and steady hand on the wheel of the franchise. The team GM does not overreact to small bumps in the long road.

And while Kupchak gets calls about Bynum, he has no intention of trading him, he told friend of this blog Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.

I’d say I get 10 to 15 phone calls a year about Andrew. I’ve called teams that have young, developing players myself. I don’t think that’s going to change. Certainly if he had played as well as he’s playing now for the last three years, teams would realize that, well, the Lakers would never trade him. But he’s had stretches where he’s played well and stretches where he hasn’t, and he’s been criticized, and I think general managers look at (those weaker stretches) and think maybe this is an opportunity for me to come in through the back door, let me make a phone call. And I understand that, and don’t think that’s going to change. But having said all that: when Andrew is healthy, and he plays like he is playing right now, you are hard pressed to look at anybody in this league and say, ‘I would trade him for that person.’

Um, anybody?

Anybody. If he’s healthy at this level he’s at, you’d have to think about anything. In other words, you may not trade him for anybody. If he helps your team and he’s what you need, and we can advance in the playoffs, then why would you take a chance and do anything? A lot of it is the right fit, the right personality for a team, and I think we have a group of players right now that are unselfish in the big picture, I really do.

Mitch Kupchak plays his cards pretty close to the vest, but he’s a straight shooter, too. If he says something, he means it.

So those Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum trades you’ve been dreaming up Lakers fans? May want to put those on hold, if not trash them outright.

Kevin Love names NBA players he thinks could play in NFL

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The majority of guys in the NBA are not built for the NFL. Blake Griffin the tight end makes a huge target for a free safety to line up. Kevin Durant is a little thin. Carmelo Anthony? Come on now.

But there are a few guys who might be able to, and on his show Dan Patrick asks Kevin Love about it today (see the video above). Then DP tries to take the obvious call of LeBron James off the table.

Nate Robinson as a DB? He’s athletic enough but at his height he would be a target for tall receivers. I like Dan Patrick’s suggestion of Russell Westbrook the free safety — he is certainly athletic enough.

Love also picked himself as a QB. Um, no. I’m not sure his outlet passing skills translate.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on not guilty verdict: “Justice was served”

Thabo Sefolosha

Friday morning, a New York jury found Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from the night in the final weeks of last season when Sefolosha and then teammate Pero Antic went to a New York club after arriving in town, and while there Pacers’ player Chris Copeland was stabbed outside the club. In his clash with police, Sefolosha suffered a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

The New York prosecutor tried to make this go away with a plea deal of just day of community service and six months probation. But Sefolosha had the means and mind to fight the charges, got his day in court and won. This is what he said in a statement after the verdict, released by the Atlanta Hawks.

“This morning’s verdict ended a long and emotional period for me.  Justice was served and for that I am eternally grateful to the judge and jury for their quick and deliberate decision….

“It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice. It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.

“It was important to me as a man, a father to two young girls and as a role model, to stand up for what I believe in and have my name cleared of any wrongdoing.  Today’s verdict will not make up for the pain and trauma my family and I have suffered over the past six months or bring back the opportunity to have played in the Eastern Conference Finals and have a shot at an NBA title, but it does bring me some peace and closes a painful chapter in my life.

“Now I look forward to returning to the team and focusing solely on my rehabilitation for the upcoming season so that I can get back to playing the game I cherish so much.”

While Sefolosha says he is focusing “solely” on his rehab, the win in the criminal case would bode well for a potential civil case if he wanted to sue regarding his treatment and the broken leg.

Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer — who testified at the trial and was amused by parts of it — released this statement:

“Thabo is a man of great character and we are proud that he took a principled approach to proving his innocence. We are extremely happy for him and his family, and we are very pleased with today’s verdict in his favor.”