EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) – Lakers center Andrew Bynum has been suspended for five games next season for his flagrant foul on Dallas guard J.J. Barea in Los Angeles’ final playoff game.
The NBA announced the suspension Tuesday, two days after Bynum was ejected for the foul late in the two-time defending champions’ 36-point loss to the Mavericks in Game 4. The league also fined Bynum $25,000 for ripping off his jersey while heading to the locker room, which means the suspension will cost Bynum more than $700,000.
Bynum expressed contrition for the episode after his exit interview at the Lakers’ training complex earlier Tuesday, saying the foul was “terrible” and “unacceptable.”
Bynum said his actions “don’t represent me, my upbringing, this franchise or any of the Laker fans out there that want to watch us and want us to succeed,” Bynum said. “I want to actually apologize to J.J. Barea for doing that. I’m just glad that he wasn’t seriously injured in the event. All I can say is, I’ve looked at (a replay), it’s terrible, and it definitely won’t be happening again.”
Bynum hit Barea with a flying elbow in the ribs while the Dallas guard drove to the basket for a layup in the fourth quarter. Barea wasn’t seriously hurt, but he stayed down for an extended time while Bynum left the court.
Bynum was suspended for two games in March for a hard foul on Minnesota’s Michael Beasley under the basket, although that foul didn’t have the same element of pure malice that even Bynum acknowledged in his foul on Barea.
Bynum said he was frustrated by the Lakers’ awful performance in an elimination game, falling far behind in the first half and never contending. He was less apologetic about the foul immediately after it happened, saying he was frustrated by the Mavericks guards repeatedly driving the lane for baskets.
Bynum said he has tried to get in contact with Barea to apologize personally, but hasn’t been able to reach him yet.
Forward Ron Artest was suspended for Game 3 of the series after a hard foul on Barea late in Game 2. Artest said Tuesday that he disagreed with his suspension.
“What are you going to do? You’ve got a guy who’s 5-2,” Artest jokingly said of the 6-foot Barea. “I extend, and he’s straight up, like a broomstick, and his face was in my palm. When it happened, I was like, ‘Oh boy. Are you all right, young fella?’ And then I was ejected. … It was unfortunate, the ejection and suspension. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t right. It shouldn’t have happened.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)