Not a happy Tuesday for the Lakers' All-Star center. To begin, as reported by our man Dave McMenamin, Andrew Bynum won't play in Tuesday's game against the visiting New Jersey Nets as the result of a moderately sprained ankle sustained Sunday against the Golden State Warriors. Not many medical specifics were offered, but considering how an MRI hasn't been deemed necessary, this feels like both a precautionary step and a reflection of the Nets starting Johan Petro at center. In theory, the Lakers should be able to win this game with Bynum in street clothes. Wednesday's contest against the Clippers, however, is a different story. But Bynum expressed hope he'd be available in another 24 hours, so despite his extensive bouts with the injury bug, I'm actually not terribly concerned about a lingering health issue.
Instead, I'll worry about another matter regarding Bynum. As McMenamin shares...
Bynum was recently fined an undisclosed amount for "numerous infractions," multiple sources confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com. One of the stunts that warranted the fine from the team was Bynum blowing off a meeting with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.
Bynum told ESPNLosAngeles.com he was unaware of the fine before getting into his car outside the Lakers practice facility and driving away following the team's shootaround in preparation for their game against the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday.
Presumably, the other stunts in question include:
- His high-fivin' antics while leaving the court upon being ejected on March 20 against the Houston Rockets. He then offered little accountability for getting the boot, instead insisting his absence had nothing to do with the eventual loss.
- 3-pointer-Gate against the Warriors on March 27, which was compounded by behaving poorly upon getting benched by Mike Brown. He sat slouched on the bench looking disinterested, then refused to take part in the huddles. Afterward, he said he didn't get up from the bench because that's where Brown put him, and maintained that 3-pointers will remain a part of his "expanded" game. Factor in how Bynum has criticized Brown's rigorous practice/shootaround schedule, and it doesn't take a psychology expert to figure out he and his coach aren't jelling. I've never believed the players as a whole have truly bought into Brown as their coach, so in that sense, elements of Bynum's disenchantment are perhaps shared by others. But he's the only one acting out at the moment, which makes his situation more problematic.
- Recurring bouts of on-court indifference, which have resulted in a string of games low on rebounds and/or hustle. Don't believe me? Just ask Bynum himself, who copped to "loafing" after the March loss in D.C.
- His recent declaration of not participating in huddles, whether led by Brown or Kobe Bryant, because he's "getting his zen on." (To the best of my recollection, Phil Jackson did prefer players listen in the huddles, for what that's worth.)
And finally, he skipped a meeting with Kupchak, which is a pretty much guaranteed way to lighten one's wallet.
It's also important to remember these aren't the only instances of questionable behavior. There was his flagrant foul against J.J. Barea 2011 playoffs, exacerbated by the WWE-style removal of his jersey while heading to the showers. (That elbow was basically a carbon copy of previous infractions to the ribs of Gerald Wallace and Michael Beasley, the latter of which had already earned him a suspension.) He's also obsessed in the past over touches to the point where it admittedly affected his defense. He's displayed a penchant for parking in handicapped spots.
As Brian and I have both mentioned many times over the last few weeks, Bynum's been in "petulant" mode recently, and we're not the only folks taking note. Pau Gasol expressed disappointment in Bynum's recent behavior, and formally addressed the matter. As did the front office. Talented and intelligent as he is, Bynum's maturity has been called into question a lot over the last few years. This disciplinary action taken by the team does nothing to quell those concerns.