Andrew Bynum was suspended five games without pay at the start of next season for his flagrant foul on J.J. Barea in the last game of the Los Angeles Lakers’ National Basketball Association playoff against the Dallas Mavericks.
Bynum, 23, also was fined $25,000 for removing his Lakers jersey as he left the court after being ejected. The Lakers were losing 100-68 at the time and went on to a 122-86 defeat that swept the two-time defending champions out of the playoffs.
The 7-foot Bynum elbowed the 6-foot Barea in the ribs, knocking him to the floor, as the Dallas player went up for a layup in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Bynum publicly apologized to Barea yesterday, a few hours before the punishment was announced by NBA Executive Vice President Stu Jackson.
“I want to apologize for my actions at the start of the fourth quarter in Dallas in Game 4,” Bynum said in a statement to reporters at the start of a news conference. “They don’t represent me, my upbringing, this franchise or any of the Laker fans.”
The oft-injured Bynum will be suspended for the first five games of the 2011-12 NBA regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play, Jackson said in a statement released by the NBA.