The NBA announced Tuesday that Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum will be suspended for the first five games of next season and fined $25,000 for elbowing Dallas Maverick guard J.J. Barea late in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals, and subsequently removing his jersey as he left the court, according to ESPN.com. The entire infraction will cost him $702,272.
The Lakers' big man apologized on Tuesday for the hard foul.
"My actions … don't represent me, my upbringing, this franchise or any of the Laker fans out there that want to watch us and want us to succeed," Bynum said.
"Furthermore, and more importantly, I want to actually apologize to J.J. Barea for doing that. I'm just glad that he wasn't seriously injured in the event and all I can say is, I've looked at [the replay], it's terrible and it definitely won't be happening again."
The Lakers were trailing by 32 points when Barea blew past Steve Blake off the dribble, driving through the lane and heading to the basket for a layup. The 280-pound Bynum threw a right elbow into Barea's ribs causing Barea to fall to the ground in pain.
Bynum received a flagrant-two foul and was ejected from the game. He admitted right after the game on Sunday that he committed the foul to send a message.
"We were getting embarrassed, they were breaking us down. So I just fouled somebody," he said after the game Sunday. "I was just kind of salty about being embarrassed. … For me, it was embarrassing to have the smallest guy on the court keep running down the lane and making shots."
Since the emotional Sunday evening, Bynum has calmed and has realized the intensity of the hit.
"I saw it," Bynum said. "I went in and I watched it, it was terrible. The whole sequence, taking off of the shirt and everything. Sometimes you just have to man up and own it. That's what happened and it's unacceptable. … It looks bad. It just looks bad."
Bynum was suspended earlier this season for two games when he committed a flagrant foul on Minnesota’s Michael Beasley. The famously wild Ron Artest, who was suspended for Game 3 after coincidentally also hitting Barea during Game 2, seemed to be more peeved with the league's ban decision than his decision to foul Barea.
"It was unfortunate, the ejection and the suspension," Artest said. "It wasn't right. It should not have happened."