Cavaliers Indefinitely Suspend Andrew Bynum

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Andrew_Bynum_CavsCleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum was suspended indefinitely Saturday morning for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

The announcement was made by Cavs GM Chris Grant in a news release that also said Bynum did not travel with the team Friday night for Saturday afternoon’s game at Boston.

Bynum will not participate in any team activities until further notice.

The timing of the suspension could dramatically impact Cleveland’s payroll. Bynum signed a two-year, $24.5 million contract with the Cavaliers in the offseason, but “only” the first $6 million is guaranteed.

On Jan. 10, all contracts become fully guaranteed for the remainder of the season. If the Cavaliers waive Bynum by Jan. 7, they will save themselves $6 million this season and $12.5 million next season, for which they hold an option.

Whether or not Bynum is reinstated, Grant likely will hold onto him as long as possible because his contract and its immediate $6 million savings this season could be a valuable trade chip.

As usual, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski already has chimed in via Twitter with this from a league source: ”He doesn’t want to play basketball anymore. He never liked it that much in first place.”

The fact that Bynum has even played this season has been somewhat surprising. He missed all of last season with the Philadelphia 76ers due to chronic knee issues, never taking the court while making $16.9 million. He had a setback during rehab when he hurt a knee while bowling and also was seen dancing at a nightclub.

Bynum, 26, is averaging 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 20 minutes this season, primarily as a starter. He has shown brief flashes of his once-dominant play and has two 20-10 games.

A week ago, Bynum had 19 points and seven rebounds in a loss to Chicago. He followed that with an 0-of-11 vs. Detroit on Monday and just four points in Thursday’s double-overtime loss to Atlanta.

Bynum was an All-Star in 2012, his last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he won championships as the starting center alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. He was dealt to Philadelphia as part of the huge four-team trade that brought Dwight Orlando from Orlando to LA.

Expected to contend for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, the Cavs are 10-18 and have had all sorts of personnel issues this season.

Top overall draft pick Anthony Bennett has struggled mightily and has heard boos at home games. A players meeting devolved into a shouting match between Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters.

In Bynum’s absence, Anderson Varejao likely will start with Tyler Zeller – who has played just 139 minutes this season after a solid rookie campaign – assuming the backup role.

Knicks’ J.R. Smith suspended 5 games

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JR SmithNew York Knicks guard J.R. Smith has been suspended five games by the NBA for violating the anti-drug program.

The NBA made the announcement Friday, continuing a string of off-court news for Smith, the reigning Sixth Man Award winner.

Two days after winning the Sixth Man Award, Smith was suspended one game for elbowing Boston Celtics guard Jason Terry in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series. Upon his return, he shot just 29 percent (34-of-117) – including 13-of-50 from 3-point range – in New York’s ensuing eight playoff games, five of them losses.

During the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Indiana Pacers, Smith’s poor play was attributed to being “hungover from clubbing every night during playoffs,” a phrase that allegedly appeared on music star Rihanna’s Instagram account. Smith and Rihanna were rumored to be dating in 2012.

 

Smith became a free agent and re-signed with the Knicks, inking a three-year, $18 million deal on which he took an eight-figure advance. Four days later, he underwent surgery to repair his patellar tendon and a torn meniscus. The procedure requires a recovery period of three to four months.

On Saturday, Smith told ESPN that there is no timetable for his return, saying, “I know they’re going to make sure I come back healthy, 100 percent so I don’t re-injure it or make it worse.”

He also added fuel to the growing Knicks-Nets rivalry in New York. After Brooklyn acquired All-Star forward Paul Pierce from Boston, Pierce said the Nets would “own New York.” Smith responded by telling ESPN that Pierce was J.R. Smith vs. Paul Pierce“bitter person just getting out of Boston. He doesn’t really know what New York is all about.”

Smith was not expected to be fully recovered at the start of the season, which means the five-game suspension begins “with the first game of the 2013-14 season for which he is eligible and physically able to play,” according to the NBA.

Smith, who turns 28 on Monday, averaged a career-high 18.1 points last season, second on the Knicks behind NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony. His absence, whether it is due to injury or suspension, places pressure on new arrival Andrea Bargnani and point guard Raymond Felton to score more in support of Anthony. 

 

Tweet of the Day: Gerald Henderson Astounded By A-Rod Suspension

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The longest suspension ever levied by the NBA league office to a single player was 86 total games—73 regular season and 13 playoff games. The penalty paid by then Indiana Pacers small forward Ron Artest (now known as Metta World Peace) for his involvement in the worst in-arena brawl to occur in basketball history.

That suspension pales in comparison to penalty issued to New York Yankees’ third basemen Alex Rodriguez on Monday.

As Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson noted, it is quite a hefty penalty.

Hawks suspend and fine Josh Smith

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Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith has been suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for conduct detrimental to the team.

The team did not reveal what that conduct was, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitiution reported that Smith was thrown out of Tuesday’s practice.

Hawks president Danny Ferry announced the suspension in a news release, saying, “Josh and I discussed the issue and he understood and accepted this course of action. We are confident that he will respond positively, learn from this experience and come back with a renewed sense of purpose to the team moving forward.”

Kings reinstate DeMarcus Cousins

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kings small logoApparently, “indefinitely” is a euphemism for “one game.”

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who was suspended indefinitely by the team Saturday, was reinstated Monday after missing one game.

The Kings announced the reinstatement. Cousins practiced with the team Monday.

Cousins was suspended Saturday, one day after he had a profanity-laced argument with coach Keith Smart during  a loss to the Clippers and was ordered to remain in the locker room for the second half.

It was the third suspension of the season for Cousins and triggered plenty of speculation about the future of Sacramento’s leading scorer and rebounder.

In today’s Sacramento Bee, Ailene Voisin wrote that while the team suspension of Cousins was entirely warranted, the Kings also need to support Cousins.

And what to do about Cousins, who didn’t react well when informed of this most recent punishment? The Kings should consider anything and everything: rehiring his former high school coach, Otis Hughley, who was added to the coaching staff as a baby sitter/personal handler during Cousins’ rookie season; taking a tip from Phil Jackson and having one of their mental health consultants maintain a more consistent and high-profile presence. And while neither teams nor the league can compel players to undergo counseling, the Kings successfully pressured Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) into anger management therapy during his days in Sacramento.

The Kings don’t play again until Wednesday at Portland.
Cousins will be eligible for a contract extension following this season.