Cavaliers suspend center Andrew Bynum
The Andrew Bynum experiment appears over for the Cavaliers.
The team indefinitely suspended the enigmatic center Saturday
for ”conduct detrimental to the team” and banned him from all
Bynum, who signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Cavs
in July, did not travel with the club to Boston for Saturday’s game
and it’s likely he has played his final game for Cleveland. The
Cavs will try to trade him.
The suspension is not a shock considering he has not played
consistently and has appeared uninterested while on the floor.
Earlier this season, the 7-footer, who did not play a second last
season for Philadelphia because of knee injuries, talked openly
about retirement and said his medical issues have been a
”It’s a terrible situation internally with our team,” All-Star
guard Kyrie Irving said before the Cavs faced the Celtics. ”It’s
something we have to get over.”
When asked after the Cavs’ 103-100 loss to Boston if there was
any fallout from the suspension, Cleveland coach Mike Brown said
”No,” shaking his head to make his answer clear.
Brown has been a huge supporter of Bynum. The two were together
in Los Angeles and their relationship was one reason the Cavs
risked signing him. Brown was asked before the game if Bynum’s days
with the Cavs were over.
”He’s on an indefinite suspension and I’m not trying to be
funny, but you know what indefinite means,” Brown said. ”We’ve
got 14 guys in that locker room who are very focused and determined
and ready to take on any challenge that’s in front of them. They’re
great guys, they’re focused guys and they know how to play the game
the right way and that’s what I’m focused on, just helping those
There were times this season Bynum showed flashes of being a
dominant post player again. But recently he has lacked energy or
enthusiasm, and on Monday he missed all 11 field-goal attempts and
didn’t score in 22 minutes against Detroit. On Thursday night,
Bynum struggled to guard Atlanta’s Al Horford. He was taken out in
the third quarter and didn’t return. Horford tore a chest muscle in
the Hawks’ double-overtime win.
Bynum impressed the Cavs with his work ethic while getting ready
for the season. They weren’t sure if he was motivated, but Bynum
startled many by being ready to play on opening night and seemed to
have revived his career.
The Cavs, however, grew concerned about his attitude in recent
weeks and feared it might hurt team chemistry. So they chose to
remove him before things got worse.
Cavs guard Jarrett Jack said Bynum wasn’t disruptive and his
quietness may have been misinterpreted.
”That’s just kind of how people are sometimes,” Jack said.
”People like to march to the beat of their own drum. That’s not
saying you’re a bad guy, that’s just how you are. I thought we
actually had a good relationship with him. He wasn’t somebody that
was reluctant to speak to people. I thought we had a decent bit of
camaraderie and hopefully this will pass and be over and we’ll be
back at full strength soon.”
The Cavs guaranteed Bynum only $6 million on his deal, and they
can clear more salary cap space if he is traded or released by Jan.
7. There could be interest in the 26-year-old Bynum from a team
willing to accept he’s not the same player who routinely recorded
double-doubles for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bynum spent seven seasons with the Lakers, who selected him with
the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft. He is averaging 8.6 points
and 5.3 rebounds in 24 games – 19 starts this season.
Although Brown said Bynum showed ”glimpses” of being a force
near the basket again, the Cavs had to place the welfare of the
team ahead of the needs of the former All-Star.
”I’m worried about the guys in the locker room,” he said.
”It’s as simple as that. In our business there are a lot of ups
and a lot of downs throughout the season. I think you all
understand that. So what you do as a head coach is you keep moving
forward. Any time you look back on anything or dwell on anything is
wasted energy from the guys in the locker room, which is obviously
AP freelancer Ken Powtak in Boston contributed to this