Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum wants to play for the Lakers


Andrew Bynum’s NBA career might have already ended.

Chronic knee problems have rendered him unplayable. A member of four teams (76ers, Cavaliers Bulls and Pacers) the last two seasons, Bynum has played just 26 games. And he can be a real nuisance.

But he’s still a 26-year-old 7-footer with All-Star experience. Teams will look for reasons to justify signing him. They might not find enough, but they’ll look.

The Knicks, with Phil Jackson and little flexibility to pursue stars in their prime, are the most obvious suitor. They sought his services during the season – before hiring Jackson, but while consulting him on their moves in case he took the job.

If New York is still interested in Bynum, he might sign there. That’s not clear.

What is clear: Bynum would enjoy playing for the Lakers, with whom he had his initial NBA success.

TMZ posted of a video of Bynum.

  • Paparazzo: “Where are you hoping to land?”
  • Bynum: “I don’t know.” (inaudible)
  • Paparazzo: “Your home is in L.A. Would you like to come back to L.A. or what?”
  • Bynum: “That would be great. Come back home.”
  • Paparazzo: “Clippers or Lakes?”
  • Bynum: “Lakers”
  • Paparazzo: “You’d rather be with the Lakers?”
  • Bynum: “Yup.”

Those are some leading questions, somewhat diminishing the value of Bynum’s answers.

But many free agents refuse to go on the record at all about preferred destinations. That Bynum said he wants to play for the Lakers, even when asked specifically about them, says something. How his face lights up when answering that question – he was mostly and appropriately dismissive of the paparazzo – says a little more.

Of course, the Lakers have a large say in this. They reportedly discussed trading for Bynum during the season, but that was to waive him and get financial relief. Signing him to play is a whole other story.

The Lakers are in a state of flux, and choosing a coach is a bigger priority. But if the new coach believes Bynum fits, the Lakers should take a look. It probably ends with them passing, but Bynum is too young and talented to fall completely off the radar.

Byron Scott isn’t thinking about next year’s draft

Byron Scott

A month into the season, the Lakers the only team in the Western Conference that can absolutely be written out of any hopes of playoff contention. They’re in an awkward position with the upcoming draft: they still need talent long-term, and they owe their pick to the Sixers if it’s outside of the top three. Not surprisingly, Byron Scott isn’t thinking about it at all.

Via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

With the Lakers fielding the NBA’s second-worst record, how much effort will the franchise put in retaining its top-3 protected draft pick?

“I don’t think about that whatsoever,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I probably won’t until April. That’s something I can’t control.”

The Lakers are in a precarious position. They appear likely bad enough to lose a lot of games. But will they lose enough to land in the top three? Otherwise, the Lakers owe Philadelphia their first-round pick as part of the Steve Nash trade.

“It’s impossible to think about the team, try to get our young guys better, the team better and also thinking about a pick,” Scott said. “That’s six months away and you might not even get it.”

Given Scott’s mentality, it’s not at all surprising that he isn’t thinking about the draft. But with his insistence on playing Kobe Bryant and Lou Williams more crunch-time minutes on this dismal Lakers team than D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, it’s pretty laughable that he talks about wanting to develop their young players.

Scott may not be thinking about the draft, but with the position the franchise is in and the likelihood that they lose their pick, he should be.

Report: Jahlil Okafor stopped for driving 108 MPH three weeks ago

Jahlil Okafor, Derrick Favors

Jahlil Okafor‘s first month in the NBA has been eventful for all the wrong reasons. Early Thanksgiving morning, he was caught on video getting into a fight with a heckler in Boston. Then, a report surfaced of another altercation from October, in which Okafor apparently had a gun pulled on him. Now, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Okafor was recently pulled over in Philadelphia for driving 108 miles per hour:

Four sources independently confirmed to The Inquirer the 76ers center was pulled over on the Ben Franklin Bridge around three weeks ago for 108 miles per hour. Anything over 40 m.p.h. is considered reckless driving.

108 miles per hour in a 40-mile zone isn’t a minor speeding infraction—it’s incredibly dangerous. It might be possible to write off any of these incidents by themselves—particularly the one where he had a gun pulled on him, which doesn’t seem to have been his fault at all. But together, the Boston incident and this speeding report aren’t a good look at all for Okafor. He’s had a solid start to the year for the Sixers, but off the court has been another story.

Harrison Barnes could be out “a few weeks” with ankle injury

Harrison Barnes
Leave a comment

The Warriors’ Friday night 135-116 win over the Suns was bittersweet: Harrison Barnes suffered a sprained left ankle in the third quarter and left for the remainder of the game. He missed Saturday night’s blowout win over the Kings as well, which extended the Warriors’ best-ever start to the season to 18-0.

Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton didn’t have an answer for how long Barnes will be out, but he said it could be a few weeks.

Via ESPN.com’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss:

“He’s being evaluated [Saturday]. We haven’t gotten the results back yet,” interim head coach Luke Walton told reporters before Saturday’s game. “It’s all speculation. It could be a few weeks. It could be a week.

“We’re not going to rush him back because we want to be healthy for later in the season and we don’t want lingering injures, so we’ll have him take his time.”

Losing a starter is never good news, but the silver lining for the Warriors is that they have enough depth and enough of a cushion to be able to take their time and not rush Barnes back. Saturday night, Walton opted to keep Andre Iguodala in his usual sixth-man role and instead start the little-used Brandon Rush in Barnes’ place. Rush responded with a 16-point performance, shooting 4-of-5 from the three-point line. If they can keep getting that kind of production out of their reserves, the Warriors will be able to withstand the loss of Barnes just fine.

Emmanuel Mudiay with the no-look, behind-the-head assist (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Emmanuel Mudiay is still a work in progress on the court — he’s a rookie, what did you expect? — but he has the court vision and flair you cannot teach.

As evidence, I present this pass from Saturday night, where in transition Mudiay goes with the no-look, behind-the-head dish to Darrell Arthur for the dunk.

The Nuggets dropped this game to the Mavericks 92-81 and have lost six in a row.