Pau Gasol’s night at “The Lion King” almost ruined by false trade rumor

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There were a whole lot of Andrew Bynum for Pau Gasol trade rumors out there last weekend, ones that never came to fruition because the Lakers wanted pieces to help them down the line (young players or picks) and the Cavaliers had no intention of giving those up because they already had the Luol Deng trade in their pocket.

Gasol has spent the past few seasons in the crosshairs of trade rumors and he’s not going to let that stop him from a good night out — Saturday night with the Lakers off he went to see “The Lion King.” (Which you should see, despite how you would think it’s a Disney kids movie and it is going to suck, it transfers very well to the stage as a big production musical.) Gasol was having a good time out on the town with his family…

Then during intermission Gasol made the mistake of checking his phone.

Saturday night the Lakers’ radio station in Los Angeles tweeted out that the deal was done and Gasol was headed to Cleveland. That was quickly shot down by other reporters and it was retracted by the station but Gasol saw it, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“I checked my Twitter at intermission and I see that it’s almost official,” Gasol said Tuesday after the Lakers’ 110-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. “I was getting all these messages, ‘Farewell, Pau. Thanks for all your services,’ all that stuff.

“It was a really good musical. I enjoyed it. I brought my parents and my little brother. It was a nice family time. But that kind of affected a little bit, the rest of the show.”

Asked, jokingly, whether it stopped him from enjoying the musical’s famous song “Hakuna Matata,” which means “no worries” in Swahili, Gasol laughed and said, “Yeah, that would’ve been a good way to go. But that’s how I approach things anyway, most of the time.”

Gasol, with his easy-going and even demeanor (that sometimes frustrates Kobe Bryant and draws the ire of some shortsighted Lakers fans) probably could handle this better than everyone.

But that would suck. Sometimes as we try to come up with trades we all can forget these players are people with family and friends who we are trying to uproot. It’s part of the life and they are well compensated for it, but still I think we can all agree that moving sucks. Having to do it on short notice sucks more.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.

Take a look back at just how great Shaq was with the Lakers (VIDEO)

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Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.

His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.

Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.