The Los Angeles Lakers have had plenty of injury concerns of their own, but that didn’t stop two of them, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace, from weighing in on their former teammate’s season-ending knee surgery.
When asked what they thought about Bynum having to undergo season-ending knee surgery, it was clear that both players felt for the big man when they spoke with the LA Times following the Lakers’ loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday night. Bynum is due $16.1 million in the final year of his contract and was part of a four-team trade that netted the Lakers Dwight Howard and sent him to the Philadelphia 76ers, a team he has yet to suit up for. He will be a free agent this summer, but will have a lot to prove in terms of his health and prognosis.
“I’m sure he’ll be OK cause he’s still young. He’s got so much time to play and get contracts,” said World Peace. “He played hard. That’s the price you’ve gotta pay when you’ve won two rings.”
For World Peace, it seemed like a case of “better them than us”, though it was clear that he was a supporter of his former teammate, with whom he played with for three seasons in Los Angeles.
Gasol was a little more sympathetic and diplomatic in his response to the same question.
“I wish him a speedy recovery. It was a tough, tough season,” Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. “He was finally having a good solid year — an outstanding year — and I wanted him to re-establish himself and be the guy on their team. It just hasn’t happened.”
Gasol has missed significant time with a partially torn right plantar fascia in his foot and understands the frustration Bynum is likely feeling. Sixers head coach Doug Collins, a former NBA All-Star in his own regard, knows that the injury has to weight heavily on Bynum. Not playing not only hurts his game, but it will end up costing him money in free agency as he’s not shown he can stay healthy on a consistent basis.
Dwight Howard, Bynum’s effective replacement, has battled injuries of his own, but has managed to play in 62 games and average 16.4 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. To say the Lakers got the better end of that deal is an understatement.
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