Tomorrow’s story tonight …
All-Star center Andrew Bynum’s ill-advised 3-pointer, which prompted coach Mike Brown to bench him for most of the second half of Tuesday’s win over the Golden State Warriors, was only “the tip of the iceberg,” according to a Lakers insider.
Bynum’s shot was the latest in a catalogue of items that have annoyed Brown, his staff, the players and team management over the last few weeks. Brown had seen enough and decided to sit the 7-footer for all but 5 minutes, 17 seconds of the second half.
The 24-year-old Bynum has played loud music in the Lakers’ locker room, which has been frowned upon over the years. He also has been disrespectful to members of the coaching staff and to his teammates for about the last three weeks.
Brown said Thursday he stood by his decision to remove Bynum from the game. Brown also said the larger situation will be handled internally, with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak speaking to Bynum about his actions on and off the court.
“At that moment, I didn’t feel that was the right shot in the game,” Brown said.
Kupchak wouldn’t say if he had spoken to Bynum yet “because the next question is: ‘What did you say?’ Much has been said and much has been dissected. Obviously, some of it you can attribute to a person growing up. It just has to be addressed.
“I think like most young, intelligent people, he will be better for it.”
After his benching, Bynum sat and appeared irritated. He did not join his teammates in their huddles during timeouts. At one point, he shrugged toward a TV cameraman as if to ask, “Why am I on the bench instead of playing in the game?”
Later, Bynum said he didn’t consider one missed shot worthy of a benching. He also said he might start to include 3-pointers in his repertoire of shots, although it wasn’t immediately clear whether he was joking. Bynum didn’t talk before Thursday’s game.
Brown said he had only been told of Bynum’s actions on the bench and his postgame comments, after the Lakers held off the Warriors for a 104-101 victory. He said it isn’t mandatory players not in the game join the team huddle for timeout instructions.
“People can agree, people can disagree,” Brown said. “I’m just doing what I think is right for the team and not for the individual. That’s how I try to coach. Is it a big deal? No, I took him out. I made a sub and put him back in.”
Bynum angered the Lakers when he said he was “loafing around out there,” after a loss March 7 to lowly Washington. He went into Thursday averaging 18.2 points and 12.2 rebounds, but hadn’t had more than nine rebounds in any of his last five games.
“That’s a comment I’m sure he would take back, looking back on it,” Kupchak said when asked specifically about Bynum’s “loafing around” statement. “It’s probably not the appropriate thing to say. … Maybe he was being overly truthful.”
Bynum led the Lakers with 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting and 13 rebounds in 40 minutes, 47 seconds during their 102-93 loss Thursday to the Oklahoma City Thunder.