The Lakers plan to exercise a $16.1-million team option for Andrew Bynum (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images…)
*Full audio of Andrew Bynum's exit interview
Nearly an hour and a half passed, and Andrew Bynum still sat in his exit interview.
It's hard to imagine what Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Coach Mike Brown had to talk about with Bynum regarding the 2011-12 season. He ended the season with a career-high in points (18.7), shooting percentage (55.8%) and rebounds (11.8). Bynum made his first All-Star appearance. He bumped Pau Gasol in the offensive pecking order. The Lakers plan to exercise his $16.1-million team option.
But of course, there's some other issues to address. You know, the ones involving his inconsistent effort, showing disrespect to Brown and blowing off meetings with Kupchak. Bynum didn't say if any of those issues were addressed, but there was at least one concern.
"We were just talking about staying mentally strong," said Bynum. "I think it's hard for anybody to focus at all times."
That didn't always happen, particularly in the postseason.
Bynum acknowledged lacking enough offensive and defensive effort in all the Lakers' three losses in their first-round series against Denver. Brown and Kobe Bryant alike noticed that Bynum's frustration with handling double teams prompted him to show less engagement on defense. After the Lakers' playoff exit to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Bynum sounded indifferent on whether the Lakers would secure him to a long-term deal.
He changed course on his desire to be with the Lakers and to have discussions in signing a multiyear contract.
"I want to be a Laker, but you never know what's going to happen," Bynum said. "I think every day in L.A. is a good one. I don't want to go anywhere."
But he hardly sounded worried about all the criticism.
"I like telling the truth," Bynum said, "and saying what's on my mind and how I feel."
Instead, Bynum focused on what he's going to do this off-season.
He said he would "most definitely" go to Germany in September for an innovative, non-invasive "Orthokine" procedure on his knees, the same procedure Kobe Bryant had last year. Bynum plans to work this off-season on 15- to 18-foot jumpers. He concedes he'll have to improve unspecified leadership skills.
"It's a part of maturing," Bynum said, "and over stretches I've been able to do it."
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