|The Lakers aren't saying anything about how they're handling Andrew Bynum's issues. (Getty Images)|
Bynum sat out of the Lakers' game against the New Jersey Nets to rest his ankle, with Josh McRoberts likely filling his spot in the starting lineup. Coach Mike Brown isn't sure whether Bynum will play Wednesday in a Staples Center showdown with the Clippers.
Brown had little else to say about Bynum, beyond claiming he has no problems with his 7-footer's recent history of interesting behavior. Brown refused to confirm ESPN's report Bynum was fined by the team for an accumulation of behavioral transgressions, although the first-year coach didn't deny it, either.
"It was an internal matter, and it was handled internally," Brown said. "We have dealt with it internally, and we'll move on."
Bynum is averaging career bests of 17.9 points and 11.9 rebounds, third-most in the league. He also has made 58.1 percent of his shots, second-best in the NBA behind New York's Tyson Chandler.
Yet the former prep-to-pro prodigy has created several minor tempests with unusual behavior this season, which began with a four-game suspension for his vicious fouls against J.J. Barea in the Lakers' final playoff game last spring. Bynum's transgressions, while mostly minor, have stood out even on a roster featuring attention-loving forward Metta World Peace.
Bynum has declined to participate in certain team huddles, sitting down the bench by himself. He slapped hands with opposing fans while taking a long time to leave the court after he was ejected from a game in Houston last month.
Bynum also was benched for the final nine minutes of a victory at Golden State on Sunday night after curiously launching a 3-pointer, although the center and his coach both downplayed the shot's importance.
He has made numerous curious comments to the media about his role in the offense and his desire for more touches, frequently backtracking on his own comments. ESPN reported Bynum even blew off a recent meeting with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, also leading to the fine.
"I'm not concerned with Bynum's attitude," Brown said. "I know that when I was [an assistant coach] in San Antonio, we fined guys for certain things. ... Stuff happens, and if it happens a zillion times, then maybe we look at dealing with it a different way, but stuff happens all the time throughout the course of a year. Sometimes you guys find out, and sometimes you don't."
Although Bynum's name surfaced in trade rumors for Orlando center Dwight Howard in recent months, the Lakers have always remained publicly supportive of their emerging center, with Kupchak saying the Lakers plan to pick up Bynum's $16.5 million contract option for next season.
Bynum is known to be a particular favorite of Lakers owner Jim Buss, who championed the young center even when Kobe Bryant and others were skeptical he would mature into an elite talent.
Bynum was hurt when he landed awkwardly while grabbing a rebound Sunday. He has been plagued by knee problems throughout his seven-year NBA career, missing slightly less than half of the Lakers' total games in his first six seasons, but has been almost completely healthy this season.
Bynum showed up at Staples Center about 65 minutes before tipoff against the Nets, changing into workout gear and heading into the trainers' room.