Wittman: Defensively, that's as bad as we've been
What took so long for Andrew Bynum to act out? The Cleveland Cavaliers have suspended the 7-foot center for conduct detrimental to the team and they're going to try to get rid of him and his two-year, $25 million contract. The deal is guaranteed for only $6 million through Jan. 5 and the Cavs don't have to pay the balance if he is traded or released.
The Wizards (12-14) go into Saturday night's game vs. the Detroit Pistons with a limp. A quality big man such as Bynum, who missed all of last season with the Philadelphia 76ers because of knee injuries, is hard to find. But they probably aren't that desperate.
A statement from the Cavs: “Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum has been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today. Bynum did not travel with the team to Boston last night for the team’s game this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. vs. the Celtics and has been excused from all team activities indefinitely. His status will be updated as appropriate.”
The Wizards would be foolish to offer someone the quality of Kevin Seraphin for Bynum, but what about some other non-productive bench players? That could be worth the gamble.
But if they did, would that top potential offers from 28 other teams? Probably not. Then again, Bynum isn't in high demand. No franchise in its right mind would offer a first-round draft pick for a player with multiple surgeries on both knees, averaging 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and a nonchalant attitude.
In his first seven NBA seasons, when he was drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Lakers, Bynum was disobedient, dismissive -- yes, even under the Zen master Phil Jackson -- and imploded when Mike Brown coached him for a season there. Then, surprisingly, the Cavs thought he'd be a good risk with Brown running the show again.
Wrong. Bynum's track record speaks for itself. Remember, after the Lakers won their second consecutive championship in 2010, Bynum delayed off-season surgery so he could go to the World Cup in South Africa. That resulted in Bynum missing the start of the season, the Lakers getting off to a mediocre start and contributed to their failed chance to three-peat. That season culminated with Bynum's clothesline of J.J. Barea in Game 4 of their 2011 playoffs series, when the Dallas Mavericks swept the Lakers en route to their first championship.
The following year, Brown replaced Jackson and Bynum was benched for shooting a three-pointer in a game. He was unapologetic about it afterward -- just as he was about blowing off surgery to go to the World Cup -- and said he'd do it again. Bynum then blew off a meeting with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. And in his only season as an All-Star in 2012, Bynum, who craved more attention playing in Kobe Bryant's shadow, didn't seem to want to be there in Orlando. He was about to become a free agent and was the subject of trade rumors. Instead of being savvy about it, he declared he didn't want to play for certain teams, and didn't hesitate to name them, because "they suck."
Imagine that guy being coached by an old school Randy Wittman, or interacting with Nene after launching a three-pointer. At this stage in his career, Bynum isn't good enough for teams to overlook erratic behavior. There's a reason that San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have had sustained success. They not only refuse to make knee-jerk reactions and chase players like this, if they do end up with a bad attitude they'll cut their ties quickly. Being a locker-room cancer is unacceptable.