But that’s only because many of the questions from reporters centered around a trade rumor involving Andrew Bynum, which didn’t mean much to Phil Jackson.
“I haven’t given any second thoughts, I haven’t even entertained it,” said L.A.’s Coach. “My first thought is, why are these (media) people interrupting my life with these rumors?”
Jackson was being at least somewhat facetious, as he followed that remark by explaining that the Lakers are very much used to dealing with trade rumors, even as he acknowledged that it’s “still something that we have to consider all the time to make sure (the players are) focused.”
The 11-time coaching champ was then asked if he were happy with his team as it currently stands.
“That’s what I told them,” he answered. “I still think when they’re playing their best they are the best team in the league.”
As for Bynum himself?
“I just keep playing,” said the 23-year-old center. “That’s all I can do. I can’t allow myself to focus on things that I can’t do anything about. All I can do is come in and play basketball for the team … (trade rumors have) happened before. You just have to keep playing basketball.”
The rumor that happened before came last season, involving current Heat forward Chris Bosh, then with the Raptors. Bynum said the same things at that time, then went on to help L.A. win its second straight title.
It’s no secret that the combination of Bynum and fellow seven-footer Pau Gasol give the Lakers an edge against nearly every team in the NBA, particularly when 6-10 Lamar Odom comes off the bench.
“That’s our biggest strength, our size,” said Kobe Bryant.
Odom, meanwhile, is always around to make sure L.A.’s biggest player is feeling all right, as referenced in our Lakers.com feature story on Odom from early January in which Bynum references Odom’s consistent support.
“That’s my guy,” said Odom. “I haven’t heard anything about (a trade rumor), but as I do now, I’ll definitely make sure ‘Drew’s all right, that he stays in good spirits.
“I think ‘Drew is really mature for a young dude. He understands. We all support him … he seems happy. The year is not over yet, and he knows we’re going to keep him focused and keep him into it because we need him.”
The Lakers may need Bynum more against Boston than any other team in the league. Though both Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal will miss Thursday’s game with respective injuries, the Celtics have their core bigs on the ready.
“I still think they have the three main people they’re going to go with, that’s (Glen) Davis, (Kendrick) Perkins and (Kevin) Garnett,” said Jackson. “We only have three big guys that we work with, I think that’s pretty much what they want.”
Trade rumor or not, it’s those Celtics’ bigs — not to mention Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo — about whom Bynum, Odom, Bryant and the rest of the Lakers will think about as they gather at the team hotel to watch film of their Jan. 30 loss to Boston at Staples Center.