Exit Interviews: Andrew Bynum apologizes for forearm on Dallas' J.J. Barea
Within a span of 48 hours after seeing the replay, Lakers center Andrew Bynum expressed remorse over throwing a forearm shiver to Dallas guard J.J. Barea in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' Game 4 loss Sunday to the Dallas Mavericks.
"I want to apologize for my actions at the start of the fourth quarter in Dallas," said Bynum, who has also picked up a flagrant foul type 2 and earned a two-game suspension for delivering forearms this season to Minnesota's Michael Beasley. "This doesn't represent my upbringing and I want to apologize to J.J. Barea for doing that. I'm glad he wasn't seriously injured. All I can say is I look at it as terrible."
Bynum wasn't apologetic for the incident immediately after the game, but he said he changed his sentiments after watching the replay. He also plans to reach out to Barea, though he said he won't take offense if Barea doesn't respond considering the Mavericks are still in the playoff hunt and the severity of the foul. He also vowed that an incident of this nature would never happen again
Even with Bynum owning up to his mistake, it's safe to presume the NBA will issue a fine and suspension for an incident that has sparked universal criticism from Jerry West, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher. The incident sullied an otherwise impressive season for Bynum, who made up for a 24-game absence to rehab his surgically repaired right knee with an emerging defensive presence, becoming a more reliable inside option (11.3 points and 9.4 rebounds) and managing to end the season without a major injury. Even with Bynum turning a corner in his development, showing the potential to be a dominant center and posting a consistent 14.4 points and 9.6 in the rebounds in the postseason, he faces a restless off-season. Although the Lakers' front office has conveyed patience regarding Bynum's development and extensive injury history, some including Johnson and Worthy believe his ejection against Dallas will sour his reputation with the Lakers. Even before the Game 4 incident, Johnson argued the Lakers should consider packaging Bynum in a trade for Orlando center Dwight Howard.
"Sometimes you have to man up and own it," Bynum said. "That's what happened. It's unacceptable."
Among the other highlights of his interview:
-- On the Lakers expressing criticism on his foul on Barea: "Everyone has an opinion on it. It's not representative of my upbringing."
-- On the lockout: "I want it to be back and not miss a beat and don't have an idea. What I have to do going in this summer is stay ready."
-- On the trust issues: "I think we weren't out there doing everything together."
-- On if he thinks he'll be suspended: "I believe I will be suspended ... I don't want to be suspended."
-- On his health: "I have no injuries going into the summer."
-- On if the Lakers need to make any changes: "I'm 100% in belief we can win a title. This team is a contending team. It makes it easier to bring guys in to be focused."
-- On why the Lakers needed "intense practices" given Kobe Bryant's surgically repaired right knee and the team's heavy basketball mileage: "We have to practice. I can't address no one's health and no one can address mine. But in order to win, we need to practice and we need to be out there and do things together and that's just where it is. That was the main thing that I saw was different the last two years. Practice wasn't the same."
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Los Angeles Lakers' Andrew Bynum listens to a question from the media during his exit interview at the team's basketball training facility in El Segundo Tuesday. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times