The season ended early for the Los Angeles Lakers this spring, as they were knocked out of the Playoffs in the Western Conference Semi-Finals by the eventual NBA Champions the Dallas Mavericks, after making the NBA Finals three straight years and winning the previous two NBA Titles. Changes have already come to the Lakers, as former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown has taken over for the retired Phil Jackson as bench boss for the club. There has been talk from all corners since Los Angeles was eliminated from the Post Season, that there could be lots of changes on the roster once the NBA Lockout has been settled.
One name that has come up quite often in speculation is talented but oft-injured center Andrew Bynum. Some sources close to the team say that Bynum is a favorite of Jim Buss; the son of the Team Owner Jerry Buss and Vice President for the franchise, and that will keep him with the team. However there has also been conversation that the Lakers could make a run for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, which would then make Bynum prime trade material.
The “Los Angeles Times” spoke with the big man recently, and the subject of him possibly being on the block was posed to him. He responded “It’s good to know everybody wants me; that means I’ll be in this game for some time. I like L.A., and don’t want to go anywhere else. It’d be good to stay in one place your whole career, and the Lakers are the most storied franchise in the league, everyone knows who the Lakers are, and I appreciate the Lakers’ love. I want to be the best player I can be. Having some successes, but not having them talked about, or having them overshadowed by other things … I’m past that. It’s all about winning championships. Working hard is the most important thing. People remember you only if you win. Period.”
Bynum, of course was not happy with his squad being knocked out of the Playoffs as early as they were. He told the paper “We got embarrassed and we all need to come back focused, ready to win. You lose 4-0, there’s not much more to be said. I was the first one to admit we didn’t work hard enough to win. Let’s tell the truth. It was due to a myriad of reasons — our collective drive and determination. It’s about being accountable. Me included. Everyone included.”
The big man told the paper that he has no plans on playing overseas if the Lockout continues into the regular season. He said ” No, I’ll stay here and stay in shape. (The lockout) seems bad, but I don’t think anyone wants to lose games. Player salaries aren’t the issue as much as people buying teams and arenas that have been devalued by the things that are part of everyone’s life now. We might miss training camp, but I think the season will start on time.”
The center has been busy this summer as he has taken up boxing, as well as learning to play the piano and to speak Spanish. Bynum’s brother’s wife is a native of Colombia.