The NBA has announced that Lakers center Andrew Bynum will be suspended for the first five games of the regular season for his flying elbow shot to Mavericks guard J.J. Barea in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Mavericks-Lakers playoff series. Bynum will also be fined $25,000 for “the manner in which he left the court.”
There’s not much to say about Bynum’s play that hasn’t already been said. It was a dangerous play, it was a dirty play, it was a classless play, and it was an unnecessary play that put a black mark on Phil Jackson’s last game as an NBA coach. This was absolutely a suspension that Bynum deserved given the circumstances of the game, the potential for serious injury the hit caused, and Bynum’s history of dangerous plays.
The 23-year old Bynum is the only Laker starter under the age of 30, and he will likely be a centerpiece of the team going forward. He emerged as one of the best young centers in the league this season, but it is clear that Bynum has some maturing to do if he wants to be a team leader going forward.