A couple things…First, a little while after Bynum talked to us, we discovered that “I feel really good” actually means that he has a strained muscle in his knee. Hmmm… Second, Bynum at first claimed to have little knowledge of the Kobe video, but later seemed to indicate that he was aware of its content. Third, Bynum also indicated that he didn’t hear from Kobe this summer, which is in contrast to Kobe’s later statement, in which he said he and Bynum exchanged text messages. Finally, this interview was done early, before Kobe showed up in the gym, so it illustrates the kind of confusion that was going on before Kobe arrived.
Here’s the interview…
(Q: Did you see the Kobe video?)
No, I didn’t see it. I just heard about it. I was actually in Atlanta training all summer, so that’s where I was at.
(Q: Would you expected to have heard from him?)
I haven’t really heard what he said, other than that he wants a trade to go down, so I didn’t really think it was that big an issue.
(Q: Where are you at, ability-wise, compared to last year?)
I feel a lot better compared to a year ago, actually. I’ve been hitting the weights and I’ve been on the track. My wind is a lot better, I’m a lot stronger and I have a bigger base, so I’ll be able to hold my ground in the post.
(Q: What are your expectations for yourself this season?)
Definitely to come out and play a lot better than I did last year. Not fade out so much at the end of the season. I want to instill that confidence in my teammates.
(Q: Having played a full season, do you have a better idea of what’s expected of you?)
I definitely do. They expect me to be a great player. I have big shoes to fill in this organization. A lot of great centers have come from here so I have to live up to the legacy.
(Q: Is there something you have to prove to management, the fans and teammates?)
Definitely. I have to prove that I’m worthy of being the No. 10 pick and that I can come through for my teammates.
(Q: Do you feel any pressure with all of that?)
Not really. I’ve been working out this whole summer, gearing up for it. So I actually feel really good right now. I’ve played a few pick-up games and felt pretty good, so I feel like I’m ready.
(Q: How much does it impact you that Kobe isn’t here?)
He’s definitely a great teammate. He’s a great player, the greatest in the game. It’s definitely going to affect us if he’s not here, but at the same time I can’t really answer that.
(Q: Have you and Kobe spoken yet?)
(Q: Do you look forward to talking to him?)
Defintely, you know what I mean? I just hope that everything is cool. We go out there and play basketball together. Bottom line is that everybody in this organization wants to win, and I’m pretty sure that he wants to win more than anybody.
(Q: Did you work out with Kareem at all?)
A little bit, just when I got back here in September. Like I said, I was down in Atlanta for most of the summer but he’s still going to be there on the scene to work with me at practices.
(Q: How did it feel to hear about the tape and what Kobe said?)
Honestly, like I said I think he was just a frustrated veteran. He was tired of losing. He had an opportunity to get a Hall of Fame point guard and that’s just how he felt about it. All it did to me, really, was make me work harder, and that’s where I’m at right now.
(Q: When you heard about the video, were you hoping to hear from Kobe at all?)
I haven’t seen the video.
(Q: But when you heard about it…)
When I heard about it? Like I said, I thought he just wanted to make a trade.
(Q: But just the idea of hearing from him, so you guys could clear any air…)
Did I want that to happen? Definitely. That would have been cool but it’s not really that big of a deal to me.