Lakers react to Andrew Bynum’s surgery on both knees

PHOENIX — Andrew Bynum spent all last season showing he was an All-Star talent and done with the durability questions that plagued him throughout his Lakers career.

On Monday, the Philadelphia 76ers announced he would undergo surgery to clean out loose cartilage in both knees. It was described as season-ending surgery, though Bynum never played a minute for the 76ers this season.

Bynum, 25, is getting $16.1 million in the last year of his contract. He becomes a free agent in July.

“I’m sure he’ll be OK cause he’s still young. He’s got so much time to play and get contracts,” said Metta World Peace, Bynum’s teammate with the Lakers for three seasons.

“He played hard. That’s the price you’ve gotta pay when you’ve won two rings.”

Bynum was sidelined because of bones bruises in both knees and then aggravated the left knee during an infamous day of bowling a few weeks into the season.

He was traded by the Lakers in August as part of the four-team deal that brought Dwight Howard to Los Angeles.

“I wish him a speedy recovery. It was a tough, tough season,” Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. “He was finally having a good solid year — an outstanding year — and I wanted him to re-establish himself and be the guy on their team. It just hasn’t happened..”

Bynum averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds last season, appeared in an All-Star game for the first time and apparently answered questions about his ability and sturdiness.

He played all 82 games only once in seven seasons with the Lakers.

“It’s sad,” Philadelphia Coach Doug Collins told reporters. “It’s been a tough year for our franchise and a tough year for Andrew. “I can only imagine what’s racing through his mind right now. I hope we all keep him in prayer.”

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan