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Sun Yue plays in the D-League

Rookie hasn't been able to do much with the Lakers, so it's a chance for him to get some minutes.

March 07, 2009|Mike Bresnahan

After a series of international discussions, rookie Sun Yue was sent to the Development League, becoming the first Lakers player this season to spend time with the team's minor league affiliate.

Sun played Friday against the Anaheim Arsenal a few hours before the Lakers took the court against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center. He had 11 points and a team-high seven assists, though he made only four of 15 shots in the D-Fenders' 108-103 overtime victory.

"It was good, besides the shooting," Sun said. "It has been a long time that I haven't played a real game."

Sun, 23, hasn't played in an NBA game since logging about two minutes against New York on Feb. 2. His move to the D-Fenders didn't go without a hitch.

There were numerous talks about the transaction between the Lakers and basketball officials in China, who viewed Sun's move to the D-Fenders as a humbling demotion.

In the end, Sun suited up for the D-Fenders.

"Everybody is realizing that in order for him to develop as he can, he needs to be playing," said Charles Bonsignore, Sun's agent. "The Lakers were pleased with the way he was practicing against some of the best players in the world. They really seem to like him. They know what they're doing."

The Lakers play 10 of their next 13 games on the road, which cuts down on their practices, the only time Sun can really develop. He has been on the inactive list for 40 of the Lakers' 62 games. He has scored a total of six points in 28 minutes over 10 games.

"We didn't see him participating much in practices because we weren't going to have many practices," Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. "So it made sense to sit down and maybe talk about getting him into the D-League and getting him some minutes, some conditioning and also to let him work on his game."

Said Sun: "Right now, it's a team decision. All I can do is follow. But, also, I know I need some game play. The team makes the decision and I will follow 100% and I will go hard."

Sun has been hobbled lately by a cut on his right big toe that was sustained after a trainer inadvertently sliced it while shaving a callous on the toe.

Sun will play tonight in a rematch against Anaheim and might stay with the D-Fenders instead of going on the Lakers' three-game trip that begins Monday in Portland.

He isn't the first Lakers rookie to play in the Development League: Guard Jordan Farmar and former Lakers guard Coby Karl each logged time with the D-Fenders.

Players in their first or second NBA seasons can be sent to the Development League up to three times in one season. Sun remains part of the Lakers' 14-man roster regardless of how much time he spends with the D-Fenders.

The Lakers hold a team option next season for Sun, a second-round pick in 2007.

Bynum update

Lakers center Andrew Bynum is getting closer to running for the first time since sustaining a torn ligament in his right knee.

"Hopefully next week," he said Friday.

Bynum has been riding a stationary bike and working out on elliptical machines for two weeks.

He is expected to return sometime between March 30 and the end of April.

Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.


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