Bynum Continues To Test Lakers’ Patience
Andrew Bynum has been known for erratic behavior throughout his seven years with the Lakers.
It appears as if he’s getting worse, and some members of the media and current and former players are wondering if the matter will come to a head before long
Quite simply, Bynum is 24, acts younger and tests the Lakers with behavior that could become a serious issue.
The subject was addressed Sunday night at Staples Center before the Lakers played the Golden State Warriors. Several of us wondered why the Lakers don’t tell Bynum to adjust his behavior.
The thought iis prevalant in the Lakers’ locker room that Bynum’s behavior has gotten worse since the trading deadline recently passed.
Some teammates think he feels secure knowing he no longer can be traded this season. Others think the departure of Derek Fisher, who held the group together, is the biggest factor.
Anyway, here’s what Bynum has been doing.
For five consecutive games he didn’t come out onto the floor with teammates for pre-game warmups. Was he receiving treatment for his tender knees? Perhaps, but he was spotted upon his late arrival listening to music on headphones.
“I can’t remember a player ever doing that in all my years around the Lakers,” said former guard Norm Nixon, who now works on the Lakers’ telecasts.
Bynum further annoyed teammates with a couple of newspaper interviews last week. First, after being benched for attempting a three-point shot, he said he’ll continue to take them, regardless of what the coach says.
“That’s not his game,” teammate Pau Gasol said of the 7-foot-1 center.
Then Bynum was asked Saturday following Kobe Bryant’s game-winning shot against New Orleans what was being said in the huddle.
“I don’t listen in huddles,” he replied.
Bynum previously said he didn’t participate in huddles when he wasn’t in the game. Coach Mike Brown didn’t press the matter, saying some players feel that way.
But not listening when he is in the game? That’s quite unusual.
Some people close to Bynum believe he plays with the media by coming up with outrageous statements.
But even if that’s the case his quotes about the huddle are disrespectful to Brown.
“I think the Lakers should tell him to knock off those kind of quotes,” said TV’s Jim Hill. ‘And if he doesn’t he’ll be suspended without pay.”
This brings up an interesting possible scenario. If Bynum was suspended the Players Association would probably file a protest.
Then Fisher, president of the Players Association, would likely take a stand. And what would it be? He’s no longer Bynum’s teammate. In fact he plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Western Conference’s best team.
While Bynum tests the patience of folks in the Lakers’ organization he also draws praise for working on his game.
“His footwork has improved quite a bit,” said Bryant. “He has moves now he didn’t have in the past.”
Bynum, merely a kid with potential in past years, has become the Western Conference’s all-star center. He averaged 22 points per game in a recent stretch.
However, he has missed 122 games in the last four years due to injuries and four more at the start of this season for being suspended for flagrantly fouling guard Dallas guard J.J. Berea in last season’s playoffs.
On that night in Dallas he ripped off his shirt on the way to the locker room. This season, after being ejected for drawing two technical fouls in a game at Staples Center, he high-fived fans as he headed for the dressing room.
Bynum might not realize he’s hurting his trade value with his antics. The Orlando Magic, who might have acquired him had center Dwight Howard agreed to a trade with the Lakers, reportedly don’t want him. Other teams may be leery of him too. When Bynum’s Laker contract expires, what will his future be?