NBA notes: Lakers sign Bynum to extension

The Los Angeles Lakers signed Andrew Bynum to a contract extension Thursday, removing the possibility the 21-year-old center would become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Terms were not disclosed.

Bynum, the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft, will make $2.8million this season.

If an agreement hadn't been reached by Friday, the Lakers wouldn't have been able to negotiate with him until after the season and he would have become an unrestricted free agent.

“This has been a fantastic week for me so far: turning 21, winning our first two games of the season, and now getting this new contract signed,” Bynum said.

Bynum, a 7-foot, 285-pounder, established himself as one of the NBA's up-and-coming big men last season before having season-ending knee surgery Jan. 13. He averaged 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.06 blocked shots in 35 games, 25 of them starts, before being injured.

The Lakers reached the NBA finals without him, losing to the Boston Celtics in six games.


CLEVELAND:LeBron James was thrilled with Wednesday night's rally and free concert for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama that he co-hosted with hip-hop star Jay-Z. “It was great,” said James. “It wasn't just a concert for Jay-Z, it was a big-picture thing.” James previously donated $20,000 to Obama's campaign.

At least for one night, the Cavs toned down their extravagant pregame ceremony, which used to include four fire-spewing swords on the scoreboard.

During a visit to Cleveland during last year's playoffs, NBA Commissioner David Stern lamented the use of pyrotechnics around the league.

DETROIT: The Pistons took another step toward ensuring they will have players to replace their aging frontcourt.

The Pistons and Jason Maxiell agreed on a $20 million, four-year extension.

Maxiell, 25, is in the final year of his contract and decided to stick with the team that drafted him 26th overall in 2005 instead of becoming a free agent after the season.

He had career highs last season, averaging 7.9 points on 54 percent shooting along with 5.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 21.5 minutes per game.

The 6-foot-7, 260-pound forward is one of the Pistons' top reserves and likely will have a larger role in the years to come.

L.A. CLIPPERS: Coach Mike Dunleavy said before Wednesday's late game against the Lakers that he thinks the Lakers might be the best club in the NBA.

“Defensively they should be one of the top three teams and then they've got Kobe Bryant at the end of the game to cancel all bets,” Dunleavy said. “If I'm picking, that's who I'm picking to win it all if they're healthy.”

ALL-STAR GAME: The All-Star game is coming to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in 2010 and plenty of good seats are available — more than 100,000.

Living up to the old adage about doing things bigger in Texas, the Mavericks and Cowboys are collaborating on hosting next season's showcase event. It will be among the first major events at the soon-to-be-completed, $1.1 billion facility in nearby Arlington.

And, if all goes according to plan, this event will set the record for the largest crowd ever to watch an NBA game, shattering the mark of 44,735 set at the 1989 All-Star Game, not-so-coincidentally held at another Texas-sized venue, the Houston Astrodome.

“It's totally outrageous,” Stern said.

Observer News Services