"Andrew Bynum" and "maturity issues" have frequently been found in the same sentence during the big man's nine-year NBA career. As details of his short stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers continue bubbling to the surface, not much has changed in terms of his public perception.
According to The Indianapolis Star's Candace Buckner, the 26-year-old center admitted to acting out during Cavaliers practices.
During a practice, Bynum said that he launched a shot from midcourt, clearly out of the rhythm of the offensive play. Another day during a scrimmage, he did not like a call from assistant coach Phil Handy and mocked him as 'a horrible referee.'
"Those are the two things I did," Bynum says. "I did them on purpose because it was over there for me."
Although Bynum's professionalism seems non-existent as a result of that admission, the bleak situation in Cleveland has even tested a league veteran's resolve.
Former Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng told a close friend earlier this year, "The stuff going on in practice would never be tolerated by the coaching staff or the front office back in Chicago. It’s a mess."
Keep in mind that Deng was dealt to the Cavs in exchange for Bynum, so his experience isn't tied to any antics from the disobedient big man.
Despite goofing off during a team practice in Cleveland and admitting in 2012 that he re-injured his right knee while bowling, the 7-footer maintains that his professional goal is to win a championship—which he hopes to do now that he's a member of the Indiana Pacers.
"My motivation is because I want a championship," Bynum told reporters. "I want to play."
That quote is a stark contrast to a Yahoo! Sports report from Adrian Wojnarowski suggesting that the big man no longer had the desire to play basketball.
Nevertheless, Bynum can be a difference-maker when motivated. He has yet to appear in a game for the Pacers, but does have plenty of playoff experience dating back to his days with the Los Angeles Lakers—where he won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird is unlikely to tolerate any nonsense, so this may be Bynum's last chance to prove himself as a worthy NBA professional.
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