Andrew Bynum: Lakers Star Sees Suspension Reduced by NBA

The NBA is back in the giving spirit for the holidays, with the Los Angeles Lakers benefiting from David Stern's new-found benevolence, oddly enough.

The league has reduced star center Andrew Bynum's suspension from five games to four, with the shortening of the 2011-12 season serving as the impetus. According to the LA Times, the NBA determined to reduce Bynum's ban by 20 percent on account of a 19.5 percent reduction in the length of the schedule—from 82 games to 66.

Bynum was originally slapped with a five-game suspension for a flagrant foul on J.J. Barea during Game 4 of the Lakers' playoff series against the eventual-champion Dallas Mavericks.

Bynum will now return in time for the Lakers' home game against the Denver Nuggets on New Year's Eve, as opposed to their date in Denver the very next day.

Still, Bynum will be forced to sit out L.A.'s opener against the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day, as well as games at Sacramento and at home against Utah and New York.

The Lakers are already hobbled heading into the campaign, with Kobe Bryant adjusting to a torn ligament in his wrist and the absence of Lamar Odom, who was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks in the wake of the vetoed Chris Paul trade.

Bynum's earlier return, though, comes as at least a brief respite from what's been a turbulent offseason. Things haven't been so jolly in Lakerland of late, to say the last, between Phil Jackson leaving, Mike Brown coming in, the Chris Paul trade falling apart, Lamar Odom getting traded to the Mavs for peanuts, Kobe Bryant tearing a ligament in his wrist and Bynum and Gasol wondering if they'll be shipped to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Dwight Howard.

And that's to make no mention of the fact that the Clippers, the Lakers' Staples Center co-tenants, are looking like the better team in L.A., with CP3 joining Blake Griffin in red, white and blue.

Suspension or ...

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