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Lakers unlikely to trade Andrew Bynum for Carmelo Anthony

While the Lakers and Nuggets have talked, L.A. officials privately say they would not include their starting center in any deal for Denver's All-Star forward. The trading deadline is Feb. 24.

February 08, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan

The Lakers had the day off. The trade winds, however, kept churning.

The Lakers were pulled into the season-long Carmelo Anthony drama after an ESPN report named them as possible trade partners with the Denver Nuggets for the unhappy All-Star forward.

There were denials from the start, team officials saying off the record they wouldn't include Andrew Bynum in a deal for Anthony, sticking with a declaration to The Times last week that there was "zero" chance they would acquire Anthony before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Bynum, 23, hasn't lived up to his promise because of numerous knee injuries but is considered the pet project of team executive Jim Buss, who has a large say in trade matters alongside General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Bynum is averaging 11.3 points and 7.4 rebounds this season and has one more guaranteed contract year at $14.9 million, with a team option for $16.1 million in 2012-13.

The Lakers view Anthony as a top-tier player but are tepid about trading for him because of the massive contract ramifications.

Anthony, 26, has one more season remaining at $18.5 million but can void it and become a free agent after this season. He is seeking a three-year extension worth $65 million that would kick in after next season.

The Lakers have the league's largest payroll ($90 million), and acquiring Anthony could push them into the stratosphere as far as salary structure and accompanying luxury taxes.

There have been talks between the Lakers and Nuggets. In fact, the Lakers declined to continue an informal discussion of Anthony for Pau Gasol, opting to keep the All-Star that helped them win consecutive championships instead of potentially bringing aboard a different one, though there was never anything officially on the table.

Anthony has been rumored to leave Denver since the season began. New Jersey tried to acquire him last month but trade talks fell apart. The New York Knicks remain the favorites to obtain Anthony, who is averaging 24.6 points and 7.8 rebounds this season.

Oh yeah, the game

Before the Lakers even think about their rematch with Boston, they have a two-hour surprise awaiting them.

They'll watch edited video of their fruitless loss to the Celtics just a handful of days ago, a painful, yet, they hope, productive investment toward their game Thursday in Boston.

There wasn't much to like about Jan. 30 from their perspective. Kobe Bryant gave them an "F" for team defense. Ron Artest got kneed in the thigh and then was run ragged by Paul Pierce (32 points). The Celtics shot 60.3%, their third-best accuracy ever against the Lakers.

The final score, at Staples Center no less: 109-96, Celtics.

It was time to be reminded of it, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said Monday.

"I promised I'd show them the game film. They haven't watched it yet. I want to do it to them, not to myself," he said.

The players actually seemed to welcome it.

"We have two days to watch film," Gasol said, "and understand what happened to that game."

The Lakers didn't practice Tuesday after their defensively driven 93-84 victory in Memphis.

They've shown recent signs of a revival, limiting the Grizzlies to a 16-point fourth quarter two days after holding New Orleans to 13 points in the fourth.

They might want to employ some of that defense against Boston, which scored 32 points in the fourth quarter against them.

"They got everybody going, pretty much, on their team," Gasol said. "We're going to have to be really physical, really solid, really aggressive in order to be successful in Boston."

Ray Allen had 21 points and Kevin Garnett clearly outplayed Gasol in that game, finishing with 18 points on nine-for-12 shooting and 13 rebounds. Gasol had 12 points on five-for-13 shooting.

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had 16 assists, six more than the unsightly total by the Lakers. In fact, the Lakers' 10 assists were their lowest in a home game in 51 years.

The Lakers will be making their first visit to TD Garden since playing the Celtics in the NBA Finals last June.

"The atmosphere's going to be pretty crazy." Artest said. "Those fans will be pretty upset from last year's [Game 7]. You know you're alive when you're playing in front of fans like that."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.

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