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Olympics probably not in Andrew Bynum's future

Young center would like to rest his knees over the summer.

January 10, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers center Andrew Bynum, right, tries to get past Phoenix's Robin Lopez during the Lakers' 99-83 victory Tuesday. Don't expect to see Bynum representing the United States at the Olympic Games in London.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum, right, tries to get past Phoenix's Robin… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Andrew Bynum wants to be an All-Star.

The Olympics, however, can wait. Maybe for a long time.

"I haven't been thinking about it," Bynum told The Times on Tuesday despite his improved play this season. "It's definitely something that's a great honor to do and all that, but for me right now, the health of my knees and stuff like that — I don't know if long summers are the best thing for me."

Bynum, 24, has fought through a history of knee problems and quietly established himself as one of the NBA's top centers, averaging 18.8 points and 15.7 rebounds for the Lakers before Tuesday's game against Phoenix.

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Basketball at the London Olympics begins July 29 and ends Aug. 11.

Bynum hasn't heard from Team USA officials, who are expected to announce 18 finalists for the roster in about two weeks. He doesn't seem to mind, for now or the distant future.

"It's something you keep your door open to, but I wouldn't guarantee seeing me doing it," he said.

Dwight Howard is the only shoo-in at center for the U.S. among a group that includes Tyson Chandler, Al Jefferson, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Kendrick Perkins and Amare Stoudemire.

Kobe Bryant, 33, will probably be on his last Oympic team. He'll be within a month of his 38th birthday when the 2016 Olympics are held. He won his first gold medal four years ago.

Pau Gasol will play again for the Spanish national team, which lost to the U.S. in the 2008 gold-medal game, 118-107.

Waiting, waiting

The Lakers were on their way to beating Memphis a few days ago when a fan yelled out in the final minute.

It wasn't a demand for free promotional tacos. It wasn't to start the "M-V-P" chant for Bryant. It was for a rookie.

"We want Darius Morris!" was the one-man cry from the lower bowl at Staples Center.

The third-string point guard is the only healthy Lakers player to see no action this season. He had 11 points in an exhibition opener against the Clippers last month but Coach Mike Brown has been reluctant to play him.

"I see a lot of people talk about it on the Internet, on Facebook, stuff I see because I check my social networks every day," Morris said. "I'm really confident in myself that I'll make the best of my opportunity."

Brown maintained that Morris has a solid NBA future but said Lakers fans shouldn't read too much into that one exhibition, which featured plenty of sloppy play. Translation: Most of Morris' points were a product of Clippers defensive breakdowns.

So Morris waits for some time in a real game. He was the only healthy Lakers player who didn't get any minutes against Phoenix.

"He's more concerned, I guess, with the vets," Morris said of Brown. "You've got to remember that the Lakers are a very veteran-based team a majority of the time. Playing behind Derek Fisher and Steve Blake, both guys over 30 years old with a lot of experience in the league, I've just got to be thankful that I have the opportunity to be here and learn from these guys."

Morris was selected out of Michigan with the 41st pick in last year's draft. Guard Andrew Goudelock was taken 46th by the Lakers and has played in seven games so far.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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