Another day, another trade rumor denial by Lakers


There was another trade rumor involving the Lakers and the Denver Nuggets regarding Carmelo Anthony and a possible four-player deal, but a Lakers official, who declined to talk publicly, steadfastly denied it.

It’s a scenario that was circulating in parts of the Lakers’ camp Wednesday: the Lakers trade Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest for forwards Anthony and Al Harrington. But the Lakers official denied it was ever on the table and insisted team executive Jim Buss and General Manager Mitch Kupchak are on the same page as far as trade opportunities.

Coach Phil Jackson chuckled at the rumors in general after the Lakers practiced Wednesday in Boston. They play the Celtics on Thursday.


“I haven’t even entertained it,” Jackson said of trading for Anthony. “My first thought is why are these [media] people interrupting my life with these kind of rumors.”

Harrington and Artest both have difficult-to-move contracts: Artest has three years and $21.8 million left on his deal, while Harrington has four years and $27.7 million remaining.

The Nuggets are trying to get something tangible for Anthony instead of losing him at season’s end for nothing. Anthony, 26, has one more year on his contract at $18.5 million but can void the deal 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.

Anthony claimed he hadn’t been aware of any Lakers interest.

“I’ve never heard of that,” he told reporters. “Every day is something different. I guess now is the Lakers. Until I hear something from the people that I’m supposed to hear something from, then I don’t pay no attention to it.”

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

Bynum’s development has been slowed because of numerous knee injuries, but he is considered Buss’ pet project. Buss has been tethered to Bynum since insisting the Lakers draft him out of high school in 2005, and he doesn’t want to give up on the 23-year-old.


The Lakers are also lukewarm about Anthony because of the financial ramifications. They have the league’s largest payroll ($90 million) and would be pushed significantly upward in salary and luxury taxes.

The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 24.

Bynum said he had been through the rumor mill a few times in his career, including reported deals for Chris Bosh and Pau Gasol that turned out to be inaccurate.

“It’s nothing new to me,” Bynum said Wednesday. “I’m going to keep playing basketball. That’s all I can do. It’s not really in my power. I can’t control it.

He hadn’t been contacted by anybody within the organization.

“I think they would if it was more than a rumor, but no one’s really said anything to me about it,” he said.

Kobe Bryant said Bynum was “extremely important” and that the Lakers’ biggest strength was their size. Bryant also said Bynum should ignore the media reports.

“If he can’t deal with that, forget a Game 7,” Bryant said. “I don’t need to talk to him about that. He’s a big boy. He can handle himself.”


Bryant downplayed the persistent rumors revolving around the Lakers.

“We don’t really deal with the unknowns,” he said. “You might as well talk about UFOs too.”

There was one trade Jackson would consider for Anthony.

“I told [rookie] Derrick Caracter that if Denver gave us Anthony straight up, then we would trade Derrick Caracter for Anthony,” Jackson said. “That’s the only trade I want on this basketball club if that’s one that works out.”

Jackson was joking. He became serious moments later when talking about his team as a whole.

“I still think when they’re playing their best, they’re the best team in the league,” he said.