NBA Playoffs Lakers Suns: Phil Jackson is thinking about sitting Andrew Bynum, but it won't help

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Bynum_Lopez.jpgUPDATE 2:06 pm: Both Andrew Bynum and Phil Jackson said after Lakers practice on Monday that Bynum will play and start in Game 4.

Again, not a shock. Bynum’s knee is not getting better or worse by playing, it’s a matter of pain management. A game or two off is not going to help him.

9:31 pm. Andrew Bynum has a torn meniscus in his right knee, a little bit of cartilage that is becoming a big problem for the Lakers.

It is clearly bothering him. Bynum is not playing well — in Game 3 he had one nice post move to go with the fouls he picked up so quickly all game. On a night Amare Stoudemire was aggressive and attacking the basket, the Lakers needed Bynum’s length to protect the rim.

And he sat with a sore knee and foul trouble.

Maybe sitting him out more and giving him some rest would help. When asked after the game Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he had thought about it, and that he would talk to Bynum about it between games.

Bynum said he was not sitting out.

The problem is, rest is not going to make it better, knee surgery is. Minor knee surgery, but surgery nonetheless. The Lakers need Bynum — not as much in this series but in the next one against the Celtics, if they make it. Bynum has not developed a reputation as a quick healer, surgery would mean the end of his season. Bynum doesn’t want that.

But rest is not helping. The candid Bynum — maybe the most open of the Lakers players — said after the Lakers had a week off leading up to the Suns series that his knee felt worse, not better. Rest has not done it any good before. There were three days off between games two and three in the Suns series and he looked worse. Rest is not the answer.

Bynum is better — even when healthy — when he can use is 7’0″, 285-pound frame to bang. The mobility and quickness of the Suns can expose his defensive rotations on the best of days.

Sunday night, Bynum was in foul trouble because he was late on rotations (and because Amare Stoudemire was the aggressor). He was late in part because his knee is very sore and he moves more slowly. It’s a problem.

But it’s not a problem more rest solves.

Harrison and Brittany Barnes to pay for funeral of Atataina Jefferson

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Harrison Barnes now plays for the Sacramento Kings, but he and wife Brittany still have ties back in Texas. Barnes played for two-and-a-half seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, and now the couple is stepping in to help the community back in Dallas in a big way.

According to multiple reports, the Barneses have offered to pay for the funeral of Atatiana Jefferson, a Texas woman shot and killed by a Forth Worth Police Department officer last week.

That officer, Aaron Dean, has since resigned and been charged with Jefferson’s murder.

Via Twitter:

Jefferson was reportedly watching her 8-year-old nephew when a neighbor called in a welfare check to the non-emergency police line. The neighbor noticed her door was open, and police responded at 2:25 a.m.

From NBC News:

Body camera footage shows the perspective of the officer outside the home, peering inside a window using a flashlight, spotting someone inside standing near a window and telling her, “Put your hands up — show me your hands,” before shooting seconds later. At no point does he identify himself as an officer.

This is extremely generous on the part of the Barnes family and another example of how players can come to grow close to the places they play in.

Lakers exercise 4th-year contract option on Kyle Kuzma

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Lakers have exercised their contract option on forward Kyle Kuzma for the 2020-21 season.

The Lakers made the move Thursday on Kuzma, who is currently out with a foot injury suffered while playing for USA Basketball during the summer.

Kuzma was the 27th overall pick in the 2017 draft out of Utah. He has become a solid NBA scorer, putting up 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds last season while starting 68 games for the Lakers.

Kuzma will make over $3.56 million next season in the fourth-year option of his rookie contract. He is making $1.97 million this season.

The Lakers expect Kuzma to return to action soon. He has been cleared for noncontact basketball activities.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-NBA

John Wall will be an assistant coach for the Wizards this season

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John Wall won’t be playing for the Washington Wizards of this season, but he will have a chance to do something for the team that’s helpful. With Bradley Beal back on board after signing a 2-year, max-level extension, Wall will be helping coach Scott Brooks from the sidelines.

According to a new story from NBC Sports Washington, Wall will be helping Brooks this season in an assistant coaching role. For his part, Wall has said that he is excited about the opportunity, and that it’s a chance to see what his life after basketball might hold when it comes to potentially getting into coaching.

Via NBC Sports Washington:

“I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not,” Wall told NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast.

“I think you have to have a lot of patience and you’ve gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player’s attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn’t the guy to coach.”

This is a good idea to keep Wall around the team and engaged. It would be sort of weird if Wall just wasn’t around while he did rehab, then expected to come back as the top dog next season.

He may never be the player he was before his injury, but if Wall remains with Brooks on the sideline for the remainder of the season it would mean he’s at least committed to taking the culture seriously in D.C. That, or he doesn’t want Beal to usurp his throne.

Fans plan to give out pro-Hong Kong t-shirts at Lakers, Raptors opening nights

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We are not yet out of the thick of things regarding the NBA and China. There are murmurings about how upset people are up with Daryl Morey back here domestically, and the beginning of the season will start with a sort of weird pall over it. NBA fans, perhaps the most socially progressive in major American sports, won’t soon forget responses from Adam Silver and LeBron James on the matter, which they’ve seen as limp-wristed.

To that end, there are two fan groups who are looking to spread pro-Hong Kong t-shirts during opening night games in the NBA next week.

Folks at Staples Center in Los Angeles should expect to see t-shirts in solidarity with protesters in Hong Kong being handed out as the Lakers take on the Clippers on Oct. 22. A reddit user going by the pseudonym Sun Lared posted to the Lakers subreddit about printing up t-shirts, and their GoFundMe reached a reported $43,000 before donations were disabled, according to LA Mag.

Via Twitter:

Inspired by Lared, another GoFundMe has reached $34,000 as of publication to hand out free t-shirts as the New Orleans Pelicans travel to Ontario to take on the Toronto Raptors on October 22nd.

Mother these t-shirts make it onto the backs of fans, and whether they make it inside the arenas for those basketball games is another thing altogether. It certainly will be an interesting PR debacle if the NBA continues to confiscate pro-Hong Kong t-shirts and signs the way they’ve done during the preseason already.

This isn’t going away any time soon.