Mike Brown taking Andrew Bynum’s latest ejection in stride

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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.”

Reports: Lakers, Pacers both confident in tampering case

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The Lakers reportedly expect to be cleared of the tampering allegations brought by the Pacers over Paul George.

As for the Pacers?

Bob Kravitz of WTHR on The Rich Eisen Show

They feel very strongly that there were correspondences between Lakers executives and Paul George’s representative. They had heard those rumors for quite some time. They think there’s some there there.

Wishful thinking by both sides? It sure looks like it.

The Lakers probably tampered, because everybody tampers. But teams are rarely punished for it, so they can also believe they did nothing egregious enough to become an exception.

A paper trail between the Lakers – Magic Johnson or any other executive – and George’s camp would go far. But even that must be more specific. George’s agent, Aaron Mintz, also represents Lakers forward Julius Randle and former Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell. So, he’d have good reason to communicate with the organization.

I don’t know what the NBA will do here. Tampering rules are rarely and arbitrarily enforced. That gives each team plenty of room to believe it’s right.

Only two of 38 rookies surveyed say No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz will have class’s best career

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The 76ers drafted Ben Simmons No. 1 last year, believing he’d have the best career of anyone in his draft class. This year, Philadelphia traded up to draft Markelle Fultz No. 1 for the same reason.

Their fellow rookies – Simmons missed all of last season due to injury – aren’t nearly as enthused.

John Schuhmann of NBA.com conducted his annual rookie survey, polling 39 players who weren’t allowed to vote for themselves or college or NBA teammates. Thirty-eight responded to the best-career question:

Which rookie will have the best career?

1. Lonzo Ball, L.A. Lakers — 18.4%
Jayson Tatum, Boston — 18.4%

3. Josh Jackson, Phoenix — 10.5%
Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas — 10.5%

5. De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento — 7.9%

6. Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia — 5.3%
Harry Giles, Sacramento — 5.3%
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia — 5.3%

Others receiving votes: Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn; John Collins, Atlanta; Jonathan Isaac, Orlando; Luke Kennard, Detroit; Kyle Kuzma, L.A. Lakers; Donovan Mitchell, Utah; Malik Monk, Charlotte

Simmons might not have come to mind to players at the rookie photo shoot, which was for the most recent draft class. And rookies have tended to pick someone other than the No. 1 pick for this question. Anthony Davis in 2012 was the last No. 1 pick to lead voting. Simmons tied for fourth at 6.7% last year – behind Brandon Ingram, Kris Dunn and Buddy Hield. Even Karl-Anthony Towns landed behind Jahlil Okafor in 2015.

But so few votes for Fultz – the consensus top prospect in the draft – is fairly stunning.

Dennis Smith Jr. received the most votes for Rookie of the Year, but at just 25.7%. A large majority of rookies picked someone other than the Mavericks point guard.

Lonzo Ball (71.8% for best playmaker) was the only player to receive a majority of votes in a category. Luke Kennard (48.6% for best shooter) and Smith (43.6% for most athletic), who each tripled second place, came close.

LeBron James reemerged as rookies’ favorite player after a three-year run by Kevin Durant. Maybe that Warriors backlash if finally catching up to Durant?

Kendall Marshall, Marshall Plumlee headline Team USA’s AmeriCup roster

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AmeriCup, previously called the FIBA Americas Championship, lost its luster when FIBA decided the continental tournament wouldn’t double as World Cup qualifying.

But the U.S. is still sending a team, coached by Jeff Van Gundy. The roster (team last season):

  • Billy Baron (UCAM Murcia, Spain)
  • Alec Brown (Windy City Bulls)
  • Larry Drew II (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  • Reggie Hearn (Reno Bighorns)
  • Darrun Hilliard (Detroit Pistons)
  • Jonathan Holmes (Canton Charge);
  • Kendall Marshall (Reno Bighorns)
  • Xavier Munford (Greensboro Swarm)
  • Marshall Plumlee (New York Knicks)
  • Jameel Warney (Texas Legends)
  • C.J. Williams (Texas Legends)
  • Reggie Williams (Oklahoma City Blue)

The Americans should still be favored, though obviously not as overwhelming as they’d be with NBA players, in a field also comprised of Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Uruguay, Panama and U.S. Virgin Islands.

This will be a good benchmark, as the U.S. might take a similar roster into World Cup qualifying.

Report: Tampering investigation stems from Magic Johnson’s TV interview

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In April, new Lakers president Magic Johnson went on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and discussed then-Pacers forward Paul George:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

Now, the Lakers – at Indiana’s request – are being investigated for tampering.

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

The investigation, which has been going on since May, stemmed from comments Magic Johnson made on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that angered Pacers owner Herb Simon, according to several NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

This doesn’t mean the Pacers believe Johnson tampered with his televised comments. It seems as if that was the last straw following numerous rumors about George going to Los Angeles.

However, there’s a case Johnson’s televised remarks alone would constitute tampering. The Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits “assurances of intent, or understandings of any kind (whether disclosed or undisclosed to the NBA), between a player (or any person or entity controlled by, related to, or acting with authority on behalf of, such player) and any Team (or Team Affiliate)” – and even attempts to solicit assurance of intent or understanding – when the player is still under contract with another team. Johnson sure appeared to do that.

But it’d be shocking if Johnson or the Lakers were punished for the interview alone. Indiana probably needs more evidence.

Then again, the arbitrary way the NBA enforces tampering, who knows?