The Cleveland Cavaliers suspended 7-0 center Andrew Bynum for one game for “conduct detrimental to the team” on Dec. 28. Bynum was suspended for the Cavaliers game against Boston on Saturday , which Cleveland lost 103-100.
Bynum, who lost $111,000 in salary by being suspended, is now on paid leave according to the team on Dec. 29.
Cleveland signed the often injured center to a two-year, $24 million dollar contract this summer, though only $6 million is guaranteed. A person familiar with the situation told USA Today Sports that Bynum has not bought in to what the Cavaliers are trying to accomplish, and had turned into a negative influence.
The Cavaliers, who has put Bynum on the trade market, has until Jan. 7 to decide if it will guarantee his contract for the rest of the season. If Bynum is releaed the Los Angeles Clippers reportedly would have serious interest in him.
Bynum, who the Cavs are reportedly interested in trading, did not travel to Boston for the team’s game against the Celtics on Saturday.
"It's a terrible situation internally with our team," All-Star guard Kyrie Irving said before the Cavs faced the Celtics. "It's something we have to get over."
It is unclear what led to Bynum's suspension. Cavs coach Mike Brown did not disclose any details regarding the suspension but expressed concern for his players.
Though according to USA Today Sports, the situation had been building over the past month, and it reached a tipping point at practice Friday. There was no outburst or physical alternation – just a continued insistence from Bynum to do what he wants with little regard to team goals. The person said if Bynum wasn't committed 100% there is no reason for him to be with the team right now.
"I'm worried about the guys in the locker room," Brown said prior to Saturday afternoon's game. "It's simple as that. In our business, there are a lot of ups and a lot of downs throughout the season.
"So what you do as a head coach is keep moving forward. Any time you look back on anything or dwell on anything, is wasted energy from the guys in the locker room, which is obviously very important."
Bynum has admitted on several occasions that he's struggled mentally with learning to play with less mobility and in pain with his knees. He also said in early November, that he lost his joy for basketball and and the person told USA TODAY Sports he is still struggling with that.
Bynum appeared in 24 games, including 19 starts, this season averaging 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting just 42 percent from the floor.