Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recalls Andrew Bynum’s inconsistent commitment

Well before the Cleveland Cavaliers suspended Andrew Bynum for conduct detrimental to the team, the Lakers worried about Bynum’s behavior level too.

Even if Bynum played an integral part in bringing the Lakers’ two NBA championships through seven seasons, the Lakers fretted about some of his antics that yielded inconsistent focus.

Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar saw that first hand when he worked with him from 2005-2009 as a special assistant coach.

“When I worked with Andrew, I found him to be bright & hardworking but I think he got bored with the repetitive nature of working on basketball fundamentals day in and day out,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote Sunday on his Facebook page. “But they are the keys to long term success.”

Abdul-Jabbar’s coaching duties were significantly scaled back in the 2008-09 season after Bynum expressed a lack of interest to the Lakers’ staff in working with Abdul-Jabbar.

Bynum helped the Lakers to two NBA championships in 2009 and 2010 and earned in his lone All-Star appearance in the 2011-12 season before being dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers in a four-team, 12-player deal that resulted in the acquisition of Dwight Howard.

But Bynum showed plenty of questionable behavior.

Bynum was benched during a game in the 2011-12 season for launching an ill-advised three-pointer and was fined by the team for his conduct. He was also ejected from two games in a two-week span and he sometimes acknowledged lacking effort. Bynum also skipped a meeting with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. Bynum was also caught numerous times parking in illegally handicapped spaces. Those incidents soured an otherwise breakout season where he posted career highs in points (18.7), rebounds (11.8) and minutes played (32).

“I believe Andrew has always had the potential to help a team when he puts his heart into it,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “He just doesn’t seem to be consistent with his commitment to the game. That can lead to a lot of frustration for any team that has signed him.”

Last season in Philadelphia, Bynum made a name for himself for his outgrown hair and injuring his left knee while bowling. Bynum also suffered a bone bruise in his right knee shortly after a procedure this offseason in Germany. He didn’t play the entire season before signing with Cleveland via free agency. Bynum averaged only 8.4 points on 41.9 percent shooting and 5.3 rebounds in 20 minutes through 24 games with Cleveland, his lowest marks since the 2006-07 season with the Lakers. Published reports also suggested Bynum lost interest in basketball.

“In my opinion Andrew is the type of person who walks to the beat of “a different drummer,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “So we won’t know the facts until Andrew decides to tell us what actually is the issue and shares his thoughts.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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