Bynum takes new step

Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO -- Hey, that guy looks familiar.

Andrew Bynum traveled with the Lakers for the first time since January, another step in his eagerly awaited comeback even though he didn’t play Sunday against Sacramento and won’t play Tuesday against Portland.

Coach Phil Jackson wanted him to get reacclimated to the road routine . . . and a couple of other things too.

“He went around and shook hands with his teammates and introduced himself because he’s been gone for a couple of months,” Jackson deadpanned. “The biggest thing about it is he has some per diem, and we could fine him immediately and take some of it away.”

Even if the 20-year-old center loses some of his $109 per diem because of Jackson-enforced infractions such as tardiness, Bynum isn’t perturbed by much these days.

He played one-on-one before the game with assistant coach Brian Shaw and will continue to do limited workouts at practice today.


“My knee got a little bit swollen from the flight, but other than that, everything went all right,” he said.

Jackson said there wasn’t much urgency to play Bynum.

“There’s absolutely none now that we’ve clinched a spot in the playoffs,” he said. “We’re just not going to be forced to do that.”

Bynum said a few days ago that the last two games of the regular season would be the earliest he would return.


Jackson loves to needle Vladimir Radmanovic, and Sunday was no different.

“We have a guy that’s a team psychologist that comes, and Vlade turns him down all the time,” Jackson said. “I tell him, ‘You really need someone to get in there and work with your head because no one’s doing anything with your head for a while. Something’s wrong with it.’

“Brian Shaw tells me you’ve got to slap him up alongside the face to get him to play hard. That’s the couple times he’s played hard, is when he’s really gotten beat up a little bit.”

Radmanovic tied a career high with 14 rebounds and tied a season high with 21 points against Sacramento.


Sacramento forward Ron Artest didn’t play Saturday in the Kings’ victory over Denver because of a thumb injury, but the Lakers knew he would play Sunday.

“He’s auditioning for a free-agent [contract], so he’ll be out there tonight,” Jackson accurately predicted beforehand.


Luke Walton sat out against Sacramento because of a strained right hamstring that he aggravated last Wednesday against Portland.

Walton, averaging 7.1 points and 3.9 rebounds, is listed as day to day.


Jackson picked Memphis to win tonight’s NCAA championship game against Kansas after watching the Tigers shut down UCLA on Saturday.

“I felt sorry for Ben [Howland] because he couldn’t get the ball in to [Kevin] Love at all,” Jackson said. “They just kept fronting him and putting a defender behind him so he couldn’t get the ball inside. That changed UCLA’s game a lot.”