The Lakers went out of the playoffs in pretty much the worst way imaginable Sunday by losing to the Mavericks 122-86 in Dallas to complete a four-game sweep. But the score doesn't tell the story -- the Lakers exited in shame in part because of two ejections, including a terrible cheap shot by Andrew Bynum on diminutive guard Jose Juan Barea.
On Tuesday afternoon, Bynum paid an expected price for the flagrant foul. From Greg Beacham of the Associated Press:
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."
That apology was necessary, but it doesn't make the incident any less ugly. While Bynum's actions may not represent him as a person, this foul arguably represents him as a basketball player. As Tom Ziller noted earlier at SB Nation, this ejection wasn't Bynum's first such incident this year, let alone in his career.
Regardless, the situation is over and a sentence has been issued by the league. The only question now is where Bynum will serve his suspension. Will he get to sit at home in Los Angeles or spend some time in a new city after a franchise-altering trade?