The Los Angeles Lakers dealt the second best center in the NBA for the best, sending Andrew Bynum to the 76ers in a 4-team trade, in return for Dwight Howard.
Abdul-Jabbar coached for the Lakers for four years, helping the 24-year-old Bynum learn how to be a big man in the NBA. During an interview of Abdul-Jabbar with LA Times’ Mark Medina, the former Laker great and 18-time NBA All-Star had some critical words for the new Philadelphia center.
“Dwight is very committed to playing and winning,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Andrew has been up and down on that issue. There are times he wants to play, do a great job and he goes out and does it. Then there are other times where it seems like he’s not focused….
“When I first started working with him, he was eager to learn,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “He appreciated me shortening the learning curve. Once he figured he did everything he wanted to do in terms of learning, he didn’t want me to bother him constantly going over the fundamentals.”
Abdul-Jabbar is right that Bynum didn’t seem to really care about the Lakers. We saw Bynum as a Lakers, jacking up three pointers and frankly not caring about winning games.
With the addition of Steve Nash, keeping Pau Gasol and now with Bynum being traded for Howard, leads Abdul-Jabbar to believe the Lakers have a shot at winning it all next season.
“Just the addition of those guys makes them contenders,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I’m not going to predict they’ll win it all. But the proof is in the pudding. They put the pieces in that place to make it happen.”