Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives past Knicks guard Danilo Gallinari in the… (Christopher Pasatieri…)
Reporting from New York — Fast-forward a handful of months.
Another NBA championship series has been played. The Lakers may or may not have successfully ended their quest for three titles in a row.
Then what happens to the NBA? And what would Kobe Bryant do if there is a lockout?
He might play in Europe.
"I wouldn't be opposed to it," he said Friday. "You know how much I love Italy. I grew up there."
With NBA owners and players far apart on a resolution for a new collective bargaining agreement, a lot will be up in the air June 30, the final day of the current labor deal.
The only financial certainty is that Bryant has three seasons and $83.5 million remaining on his Lakers contract.
It has yet to be determined whether the NBA will let players go overseas in case of a lockout, one of many unsolved issues in what might be a long, unsettling summer (and beyond?) for NBA fans.
Bryant was sure of one thing. He wasn't set on going to Italy.
"I'm not locked into anywhere," he said, smiling. "I'm locked out. You've just got to play it by ear."
Bynum keeps producing
The Lakers were leading comfortably against the New York Knicks on Friday when a Lakers fan walked past Mitch Kupchak in the fourth quarter.
"Don't trade Andrew Bynum," he said to the Lakers' general manager.
Bynum doesn't seem consumed by the trade talk surrounding him after Coach Phil Jackson talked to him about it.
"I think he had the right attitude toward it," Jackson said. "He thought it was hearsay. I confirmed that I felt he was probably right about it."
Bynum had 12 points and nine rebounds against New York a day after totaling 16 points and nine rebounds against Boston. He shot 61% in the two games.
"You can take it as, 'Yeah, take that with the trade talk.' That's not Andrew," Lamar Odom said. "He's poised. He knows he's important for us to give us presence. And he does that."
Bynum felt strong enough Friday that he wanted more touches against the Knicks. He made five of eight shots.
"I was effective in the beginning of the game but then I didn't get too many more opportunities," he said. "I've got to continue to bring the energy and hopefully opportunities will come."
City never sleeps
The Lakers have five players with ties to New York and New Jersey, which caused a distraction, Jackson said.
"I came down in the lobby [Friday] and I think Ron [Artest] was down there every time I was in the lobby," he said. "He had a lot of things going on."
The Lakers won, however, 113-96.
Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.