Cavs' Bynum: 'I'm a shell of myself on the court right now'
NOV 08, 2013 12:16p ET
But today, upon his return to Philadelphia as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he admittedly has his doubts.
"Retirement was a thought, it was a serious thought. It still is," the 7-foot center told reporters Thursday following the Cavs' practice at Temple University. "It's tough to enjoy the game because of how limited I am physically."
Bynum signed a free-agent deal with Cleveland over the summer. He missed all of the preseason but has played limited minutes off the bench in all but one of the Cavs' first five regular-season games.
Last week in Cleveland he acknowledged his knees are still achy, that he occasionally experiences "little sharp pains" after practicing or playing in games.
He is uncomfortable, he said, and that leads to thoughts of leaving the NBA for good.
"I'm working through that," Bynum said. "Every now and again I do (think of retiring). … It's still career-threatening. I'm a shell of myself on the court right now. I'm just struggling mentally."
Bynum was an All-Star two years ago, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for the Los Angeles Lakers under current Cavs coach Mike Brown.
Bynum became a free agent following last season. His camp sent X-rays of his knees to teams over the summer, after the Sixers made it clear they would not re-sign him.
Everyone took a pass except for Cleveland.
Bynum's contract with the Cavs includes a number of benchmarks. If he hits them, he reportedly can make up to $12 million this season, and $12 million next (the Cavs own a second-year option). If he fails to hit the targets, the Cavs owe him only $6 million.
As one opposing league executive told FOX Sports Ohio, "He has $18 million reasons to play, play well, and not retire."
"I just want to be able to play without pain and find the joy again," Bynum said. "Right now I'm battling pain and it's annoying. I'm not able to do the things I'm used to doing and it's frustrating."
The Cavs play a back-to-back against the Sixers, beginning Friday at Philadelphia. The teams then play Saturday at Cleveland.
Bynum is sitting out the second of two games on two consecutive nights -- and has said he would play Friday in Philadelphia, but not Saturday.
After missing all of last season, he said he is prepared for the negative reaction he's likely to receive from Sixers fans.
"If I could've played (in Philadelphia) I would have," Bynum said. "I don't really care (about fan reaction), it is what it is. I was hurt and I'm still hurt but I'm trying.
"Nothing went bad, nothing went wrong. I think people just need to accept the facts that my knees are the way they are."
Bynum is averaging 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 13 minutes a game with Cleveland.
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