Remember when Andrew Bynum didn't want to play basketball?
About Bynum suspension, league source tells Yahoo: "He doesn't want to play basketball anymore. He never liked it that much in first place."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 28, 2013
Apparently, there was a missing section of that first sentence. Andrew Bynum didn't want to play basketball, assuming he was stuck playing for a team destined to lose a lot of games.
That would explain why he never suited up for the Philadelphia 76ers, who were decent but not highly competitive while Jrue Holiday was leading the charge. And it would explain why he cared so little about contributing to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are just one big hot mess, before eventually finding a home with the Indiana Pacers.
But according to Indiana general manager Kevin Pritchard during a radio interview, as relayed by Candace Buckner of IndyStar.com, Bynum actually wanted to play for the Pacers:
He made it perfectly clear. He was like, ‘Look, I want to win a championship. I think I can really help you, and I want to fit in. I’m not coming here to let everybody fit in with me. I got to fit in with everybody else.'
Well, that's different than the Bynum we normally hear about.
As talented as the 7-footer may be, he's caused more problems than solutions over the last few years. It's what led the Cavs to go as far as suspending him for conduct detrimental to the team. On Dec. 28, USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick wrote the following about the mercurial Bynum:
The situation had been building over the past month, and it reached a tipping point at practice Friday. There was no outburst or physical alternation (sic.)—just a continued insistence from Bynum to do what he wants with little regard to team goals. The person said if Bynum wasn't committed 100 percent there is no reason for him to be with the team right now.
Forgive me for being cynical, but it's easier to be "committed 100 percent" when you're playing for a team with a legitimate shot at competing for the Larry O'Brien Trophy. The Pacers qualify as such, especially since they currently hold down the No. 1 spot in the weak Eastern Conference.
It must be nice to be so talented that you can only want to play for good teams and then get your way.
Maybe the Pacers will help rejuvenate Bynum's struggling career. Maybe they'll give him backup minutes over Ian Mahinmi, who hasn't made too much of a positive impact for Indiana's title hopes. Maybe they'll showcase him to the point that he can get a bigger deal in the future.
But Bynum's reputation still has a long upward climb, especially after blowing it with teams willing to give him a chance in back-to-back seasons.