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Kobe Bryant sends mixed messages about Andrew Bynum

Aug 11, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers - Game One Getty Images

OK, this is kind of weird. It doesn’t really matter, it’s just kind of weird. Here’s Kobe Bryant‘s message on Facebook to Andrew Bynum on Friday:

I wish nothing but the best for Big Bynum. I hope he follows what was a great season last year with an even better one next year.

via Well, it looks like….

And that’s sweet, right? I mean, that’s a nice, seemingly genuine sentiment towards a young player that Bryant really supported throughout his career. It was baffling last year when Bynum would ignore play sets and ignore huddles, yet Bryant not only didn’t seek out correcting him, but didn’t get angry about it in the press. For a guy that has continually lashed out at teammates for not living up to his high expectations, Bynum always kind of got a pass. So maybe he just has that kind of affection for him. But then, from the New York Daily News, there’s this quote from Bryant after Team USA’s win yesterday:

“The consensus (among his Olympic teammates) was that there was no way we could get Dwight and still keep Pau. They all know what Pau does for us. I said I think we can make it happen, they said no.

“Well, we got Pau for virtually nothing, so history does repeat itself.”

via Kobe Bryant ‘excited’ for Lakers franchise after L.A. lands Dwight Howard in four-team blockbuster trade – NY Daily News.

So Bynum had a “great season” but was “virtually nothing?” How does that work?

Again, it doesn’t matter, it’s just weird. You can make the argument that he’s more referring to the fact that the Lakers didn’t have to give up more than one player, and as there are only maybe two players on the planet better than Howard, that’s a huge win under any lens. But for someone as well-versed in the media as Kobe, we’re used to seeing daggers hidden behind innocuous comments when he talks to reporters. We never really got to understand the Kobe-Bynum relationship, and we probably never will.

Besides, we have a whole new dynamic to try and unravel.

  1. opinevain - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Maybe I read into his comment as him saying that Orlando didn’t really get anything in return, “quality players” and I didn’t see where he slighted Bynum.

    • gmen4life33 - Aug 11, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      Agree. Everyone (who understands basketball) knows Howard is better than Bynum. Bynum is really really good, and young, but not close to Howard’s level. Howard can (and has) take a team to the Finals with not very much talent around him, Bynum can’t.

      What Kobe was saying they UPGRADED for virtually nothing. Yes, Bynum was really good, but Howard is better, and they didnt have to include anything extra (besides a 1st).

      • 24thesho - Aug 11, 2012 at 6:09 PM

        Better? Uhh, hmm, I don’t totally agree. Howard is just more athletic and can run and jump, but Bynum helped to win at least 2 NBA World Championships while with the Lakers, and, he can make his free throws.

      • gmen4life33 - Aug 12, 2012 at 3:22 PM

        Yea you are right, its not like Adam Morrison has 2 rings too.
        Howard+Skip-to-my-lou+Lee+Turkaglue+Lewis=NBA Finals

        Bynum+Skip-to-my-lou+Lee+Turkaglue+Lewis=NBA Lottery Pick

      • ihavenonickname - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:06 PM

        Nah, Pau deserves pretty much all that credit for the frontline. We forget that Bynum was still raw, injured, and came off the bench for the lakers two championship runs. In the playoffs of those two years he averaged 7 pts, 5 rebs, in 20 minutes a game. facts.

      • saint1997 - Aug 11, 2012 at 8:17 PM

        Sorry this is for @24thesho i just can’t reply to him. NBA World Championships? Can you not call them that please! One team from Canada does not mean world, i get that is what it is called but it just sounds stupid man

      • kilo0986 - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        Last I checked they did win the NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION WORLD championship. So yes they should be called that.

      • Kurt Helin - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:54 PM

        It is not the NBA world championship, it is the NBA championship. I don’t like NBA teams hanging world championship banners, but I think only the Spurs banners say NBA champs.

  2. rwpsych16 - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    I believe Kobe said they GOT Pau for “virtually nothing” referring to the trade for Pau from Memphis.

  3. ihavenonickname - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    ya it is weird, but its not a big deal to complement Bynum on a great (which he had) an then turn around and call him “nothing.” It doesn’t really have to do with Bynum I think its just a reference to what a great trade is was for the Lakers and how great Howard is. If you expected to have to give up pau and bynum, but then you only give up half of it, that feels like getting Howard for nothing…

    sorta like getting Pau for “nothing” (even though Marc Gasol has turned into a real nice player).


  4. therealdmuls - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Quick! Let’s over analyze this and make a story!

  5. biasedhomer - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    I think its more like everyone knew if Howard came to the Lakers, Bynum would be out. So all they did was Bynum for Howard, without losing anything else.

  6. limonadamas - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Yet again, Matt Moore’s anti-Kobe/anti-Laker bias shines through. Stop being a wannabe Simmons/Abbott. You’re better than this.

    • 20dollardinners - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      I did’t read it that way. I read it as Kobe sending a message of “I care for Bynum as a friend, respect him as a teammate, but we just got the best center in the league is a near 1:1 swap. Bynum is terribly immature and has never been their first option. The pressure is a lot different when it’s true inside-out (a la Tim Duncan, Shaq during his Lakers years, D12 in Orlando).

      I think people give Bynum a lot more credit than he deserves. He is a horizon player – “just wait – he is about to get their.”

      And just to be clear, we’re seperate good from great players here. He is a very very very good player, but D12 is great.

      • limonadamas - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:35 PM

        @20DD: I agree with what you’re saying… I’m just commenting on Matt Moore’s anti-Kobe/anti-Laker biases. He’s a really good basketball writer whenever those biases aren’t glaringly obvious (which is, unfortunately, a lot of the time). Now that the Lakers have landed D12, get ready for a lot of this kind of crap.

  7. mysticsports - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Lord. Talk about reaching. The previous sentence talked about how they were gonna have to give up Pau along with Bynum. But their net result was a swap of Bynum for Howard, so they upgraded their center (presumably) without coming out with a net loss. If they, for example, gave up Pau, then that would’ve been giving up something (incurring a net loss) to get Howard. Moore, try to find something actually worthwhile to dissect.

  8. wayne1693 - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    I think many so-called ‘experts’ might be surprised at the end of the season…when Bynum has a BETTER stat-line than Howard!

    • jedifriedchicken - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      This could be true. Considering the talent differential between the two teams now, I don’t think this would really be a fair comparison. I think what really matters is how much both help their teams get as deep into the post season.

      • wayne1693 - Aug 11, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        You make an excellent point, but how could we possibly objectively quantify this, with both teams adding other significant players, e.g., Steve Nash. However, you can quantify Free Throw %…Rebounds…Blocked Shots…Shooting %…even if you put aside Points-Per-Game because the Lakers have more offensive options than does Philly. I just hope they both remain healthy for the entire season so that we actually have something to argue about come June.

    • mysticsports - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      Who will have the better stat line in the win percentage column, LA or Philly?

      And comparing the stats of a center who’s the first option on his team with one whose the third or fourth is pretty dumb. You need to ask if Dwight will have better stats in LA than Bynum ever did.

    • cosanostra71 - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      It will be interesting. As friedchicken said, having more offensive options will mean Dwight’s stats will be limited. I enjoyed Bynum, but I’m interested to see if this motivates him, or if it just means he’ll tune out even more.

      • wayne1693 - Aug 11, 2012 at 3:13 PM

        Putting aside the issue of ‘Tuning In/Tuning Out’ for a moment…don’t you think Bynum made huge strides in skill-set last season?

      • cosanostra71 - Aug 11, 2012 at 6:20 PM

        oh definitely! He got a lot better. He could have been even better if he had his head in the game all the time. That’s what was so frustrating about him last year- knowing that he had the ability to be truly dominant if he wanted.

    • badintent - Aug 12, 2012 at 1:57 AM

      @Matt Moore

      First and foremost, Kobe has ALWAYS been on Bynum ‘s case from DAY 1 !Like in not being in Pro shape at his first training camp, not learning the sets, not staying after practice ( sorry AI ) , and on and on and on.Every time Bynum has been injured , Kobe has rolled his eyes to the reporter asking about it. And Kobe has never given much credit when the Lakers have had success. Paul has always been Kobe’s guy, Bynum never.When Bynum smash JJ last year, Kobe was seen as really mad that Bynum got Mad Dog Metta that day. It’s not the Laker way and Kobe was right for once. I h ope Bynum has a great year and Howard has a huge locker room fight with Kobe and Mike Brown. IT gonna happen,count on it !

  9. shzastl - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Agree with opinevains, I interpreted that as the team’s opinion being that Orlando would not let a player like Howard go without demanding everything it could get, but wound up getting ‘nothing’, much like Memphis only getting kwame for pau

  10. nadsiantheory - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Bynum never seemed like a player Kobe liked. He has talent, but he never looked like a lay it on the line/win at all cost type. I also don’t think Bynum looked like he cared what Kobe had to say.

    • raidmagic - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      Oh well he’s really going to love Howard then, the guy that got mad at the world when J Rich got the play called for him and hit the game winning shot. Yes got mad because they won a game but he didn’t get to take the last shot.

    • dls612 - Aug 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      I think Bynum wanted Kobe to stick up for him like he did gasol. Kobe has a lot of input as to who he wants to play with! That why shag got traded! When your name is constantly mentioned in a potential trade and some franchise player like Kobe don’t back u up its hard to give your all! Do don’t give me this crap about him not living up to everyone expectations

  11. mp4philly - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    I think you’re missing it all together. Seems to me he’s referring to the trade with Memphis for Pau.

    • dls612 - Aug 11, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      I’m mentioning the fact when someone or somebody says you not living up th the expectation, and just pointing out that Kobe didn’t put up much a fight for Bynum like he did gasol., my comments are just that a comment. Are u the writer?

    • dls612 - Aug 11, 2012 at 3:33 PM

      If you look at the other comments, they have nothing to do with the article! But yet you reply to my comments. Relax there tiger!

  12. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Pau for nothing refers to his arrival to the Lakers; the benefit of Jerry West serving in a Trojan Horse role with Memphis.

    If you read this as a Bynum slight, it’s because you want to stir argument.

    • passerby23 - Aug 11, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      Thank you. His reference to getting Pau for nothing has nothing to do with Bynum. His point was that, if they could get Gasol for almost nothing, why would it be out of the realm of possibility to get Howard when they actually do have viable trade assets? In other words, if you can get Gasol for nothing, getting Howard for Bynum should be easier. And it was…without giving up Gasol.

      I don’t see anything weird about his comments.

  13. crtzinc - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Hah, I bet Kobe still feels bad for that video of him saying bring Jason Kidd to L.A. and trade Bynum. Bynum turned into a good player, probably what Kobe never expected, so his guilt has him bite his tongue on Bynum and rightfully so. I’m a Laker fan but honestly if Kobe wasn’t a Laker I wouldn’t like him.

  14. ptestonm - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:41 PM


  15. isaiahforreal - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    It’s a low blow even if he didn’t intend for it to be.

  16. lolo3504 - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    only 2 players better than Howard? maybe on his new team but he would be lucky to be a top 5 player in the league

  17. davidcl77 - Aug 11, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    MP4Philly, you are right. He was talking about the trade years ago when the Lakers did get Pau for nothing. Ignorant on Memphis’ part. Glad you’re on top of it.

  18. magicbucs - Aug 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    @raidmagic… Good point about the J rich shot. Idk how Dwight’s going to handle being the 4th option on a team lol.

    Aren’t you glad the lying coward is gone? I’m ready for a fresh new start and let Hennigan do what he does well, DRAFT good talent. Even late 1st rounders!!

    • raidmagic - Aug 11, 2012 at 4:00 PM

      Yeah I never thought I’d say this but I’m glad he’s not on this team anymore. Going back to the heart and hustle days of Armstrong and Outlaw is appealing to me at this point. I watch sports to be entertained and it’s dishearting to watch pros mail it in and not care. Hopefully this group of ragtag players Hennigan has assembled will be high energy and fun to watch

  19. joroberts10 - Aug 11, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Does nobody realize the Lakers had to give up Josh McRoberts in this trade? Such a bad trade for the lakers….haha

  20. Mr. Wright 212 - Aug 11, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    I recalled sources saying that there was an edict handed down from Jim Buss for no one in the Laker organization, no one — Kobe included — to publicly criticize Bynum.

  21. camnellum12 - Aug 11, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    I do have a feeling Kobe did push Bynum out of LA. If you check Bynum’s stat line when Kobe was out with that nasty shin injury, it was clear Drew was ready to be the next great Laker. But people said he didn’t play hard and pouted too much, but some don’t realize Kobe was being too much of an alpha male and not giving Bynum the ball. Andrew did have his immature moments, but knew when to bring it. It’s all over now, because he’ll have his own squad and legacy to build, too bad he couldn’t remain a Laker. Oh yeah, here’s an interesting stat for everybody:

    Since 1980, centers with a better career PER than Andrew Bynum thru age 24: Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Alonzo Mourning, Dwight Howard, and Yao Ming. That’s it. All of them got to be THE man on their team, now let’s see why Bynum does in Philly.

  22. sourcesclosetothesituation - Aug 11, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    He didn’t say, “We got Howard for virtually nothing” He said they got Pau. As the context of the article states, it was the feeling around the league that to get Howard they would have to give up Pau and Bynum. It was a foregone conclusion that they would give up Pau. By giving up Bynum for Howard they kept (“got”) for virtually nothing. The virtually nothing in this context has absolutely nothing to do with Bynum. But something tells me you knew that when you wrote this article Matt. You’re better than that. Kurt isn’t. Leave the sensationalist writing an article for the sake of writing to him. Although given Kurts impeccable attention to detail I suspect if it were written by Kurt it would read “Cobe Briant Send Mixd Mesages about Paul Bynum.”

  23. polarbearsquares - Aug 11, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    I’m sorry but this is really, really stupid. This is not mixed messages. When you only hafto give up an All-Star for a three time DPOY and All-NBA center without giving up half your roster like Houston and Brooklyn were ready to do … thats the definition of virtually nothing.

    Look. I realize a lot of writers believe stereotypes about Laker fans, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, etc. That’s fine. Some of it is justified. But I really don’t see any other point to this article but to try and sow some type of seeds of discord between Kobe and Bynum. To read this as a “mixed message” takes a lot of logical gymnastics. That’s a very harsh reading of this statement. Kobe gave a full-throated endorsement of Bynum and his future. Which is big because everyone remembers his rant in 2007. Then he comments on the Dwight Howard trade. And you connect the two as some slight-of-hand diss to Bynum? Really?

    Look. I realize copy is important and so are multiple posts for traffic. Maybe you just needed to post something. That’s understandable. But I think you’re reading into this. What was Kobe supposed to say? That he wanted to get Howard and keep Bynum and Pau? Could it be that he was correct? Trading an All-Star and two players not even in the rotation for an All-NBA player. If that isn’t “virtually for nothing” I don’t know what is.

    • manchestermiracle - Aug 11, 2012 at 8:11 PM

      Thank you for saying what I was thinking. Try to remember that Matt has a huge hatred boner for everything Lakers.

  24. camnellum12 - Aug 11, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    And why did he think Dwight’s still the 3rd best player in the NBA? Especially not after that back injury. He must have forgotten how good Chris Paul is, or Kobe, or even Dwyane Wade. I’d list Howard as the 6th best.

  25. lew24 - Aug 11, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    I love NBC sports and their websites. The writers do a great job. I do respect all the writers on this site and the others. I really hate to say this but this entry is such a waste! Really? This is a topic to discuss?

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