Los Angeles Lakers coach Brown celebrates with Bynum during their NBA game against Boston Celtics in Los Angeles

Mike Brown taking Andrew Bynum’s latest ejection in stride


Andrew Bynum was ejected early in the fourth quarter of the Lakers loss to the Rockets on Friday, and by all accounts, it was a situation that should have been completely avoided. Bynum already had picked up one technical foul, and after scoring on a strong post move inside, he turned to the Houston bench and demonstratively let them know just how pleased he was with his accomplishment.

That was enough to get him tossed in the referees’ eyes. In the eyes of Lakers fans, Bynum’s act is growing tired, and the majority wish the team would step in and do something about his recent behavior, which seems to be lacking maturity and growing more defiant by the day.

Lakers head coach Mike Brown, however, in speaking before his team was set to face the Suns in Phoenix on Saturday, didn’t seem overly concerned.

“Obviously I talked to him about it, but you take it in stride,” he said. “We’ve had other guys, from Josh McRoberts to Matt Barnes to myself get kicked out. It’s part of the course of the season, in my opinion. You hope it doesn’t happen, because we need everybody to be there on the sidelines, and obviously we needed Andrew last night. But the NBA fines you for getting the first tech, the NBA fines you for getting the second tech, and then you go from there and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”

Bynum was ejected the last time L.A. played the Rockets too, and of course, there was the benching that took place after he launched an ill-advised three-pointer early in the shot clock. But there won’t be any type of internal suspension of the team’s All-Star center, an idea that Brown laughed off as being as ridiculous as it sounds.

“Then I should have suspended myself, and I should have suspended Josh McRoberts, and Matt Barnes, and my good buddy Gregg Popovich should be suspended 16 times a year because of his tirades, and I could go on down the line,” Brown said. “I think if it’s a problem or it gets out of hand, where a guy gets kicked out multiple times, then maybe. But (Bynum) doesn’t even lead our team in technicals. So, do I suspend him when he’s maybe fourth or fifth … I don’t know if that makes sense.”

As for his discussion with Bynum and what his big man’s reasons were for his actions, Brown declined to share those details. Bynum didn’t speak to reporters after the game on Friday, and it was the same in Phoenix before the game Saturday.

Brown did say that he stressed to Bynum the importance of not taking himself out of games like this in the future. And he believes, at least for now, that his message has been received.

“He gave his reasoning; you can ask him what his reasoning was,” Brown said. “He gave it, I said OK, and we moved on. Again, he knows that we need him on the floor. He knows that we needed him on the floor Friday night. For me to sit here and continue to beat a dead horse on it, it’s not going to do me any good or him any good once you get your message across.”

League executives, players wince watching this Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
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Over the last few days, we’ve written in more detail about Kobe Bryant‘s shooting troubles. He’s jacking up threes his fastest pace ever, he can’t create space to get off clean shots, he’s hitting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. There are flashes of vintage Kobe, but they are fleeting (and mostly because poor shot choices are falling). Byron Scott is still in Kobe’s corner, saying they just need to get the veteran better looks.

However, talk to people around the league about Kobe and you hear some variation of the phrase “hard to watch.” After 20 seasons, more than 55,000 minutes on the court, and coming off two major injuries, Kobe clearly is not the same player everyone admired for so long.

Over at the Los Angeles Times Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner got a number of sources to wince about Kobe for a story — except nobody wanted their name attached to attacking a legend of the game.

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

“He’s one of the few players in NBA history to have gotten everything possible out of his body. Now his body has nothing left to give,” (an Eastern Conference executive) said. “But that’s life in the NBA, in professional sports. At some point, the body just can’t do it anymore and Kobe’s body can’t do it anymore.”

One West scout said Bryant looked “disinterested” at times. A current player in the West went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

Kobe is not going to walk away mid-season, and nobody wants an injury to force him out of the game.

But it’s hard to see how anything is going to dramatically change. Kobe may shoot a little better than his current but it’s not likely going to change in a meaningful way. Which will just make things hard to watch for a full season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.