Will Bynum: 'No, I don't regret it. I regret that maybe I was too passionate about it. But other than that, I don't.' (John Raoux / Associated Press)
Auburn Hills — As of Thursday afternoon there had been no meeting of the minds yet between Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks and reserve guard Will Bynum after they exchanged words in the huddle during Wednesday night’s game against the Orlando Magic.
Bynum declined to speak to the media after the Pistons’ 112-98 loss in Orlando, while Cheeks initially said he would likely deal with his backup point guard soon.
“It was the heat of the moment,” Bynum said Thursday. “I mean, I care and it’s hard for me to sit back and act like I don’t care because I do. All I’m concerned about is winning. If I see something that’s not right, sometimes in the heat of the moment you say something.”
Bynum had a three-minute run where he wasn’t playing well and the Pistons fell behind by four when Cheeks removed him for Josh Smith. Bynum didn’t agree and the two exchanged words before teammates played peacemaker with Bynum.
“It’s not an issue; we watched film,” said Cheeks after practice Thursday. “That’s what we did. I haven’t talked to Will Bynum yet.”
Bynum clearly wanted his coach to trust him a little more in that juncture, and Cheeks felt it was a game that was slipping away in that short stretch. Bynum only played three minutes, and after he was removed, the Magic lead ballooned to 20 before the Pistons mounted a comeback in vain.
“It’s been around for a long time. Starters get a little more leeway than guys coming off the bench,” Cheeks said. “I’m harder on point guards than normal because I think they have a huge impact on the game. Their value is pretty special.”
With Bynum out, Brandon Jennings struggled with a 5-for-23 shooting night, but Cheeks felt Jennings’ night wasn’t as bad as it appeared.
“(Shooting) is one aspect of the game,” Cheeks said. “You can still be out there trying on the floor, like I thought Brandon was -- trying -- despite shooting 5 for 23.”
Cheeks has had disagreements with a few players this year, which isn’t uncommon in the NBA and certainly not unusual in Detroit. But the fact that it’s Bynum, who certainly has never qualified as a malcontent since his arrival in the 2008-09 season, raised some eyebrows.
“If I have a problem with Will, we’ll probably have a conversation at some point,” Cheeks said. “I’ll say this again: Through my years of playing and coaching, starters have a little bit more (leeway). It’s been that way and probably not gonna change. I don’t know any other way to say it.”
As Cheeks spoke to the media, Bynum ran wind sprints on the sidelines and afterward, was short when asked if he and his coach needed to have a meeting to clear the air.
“No,” said Bynum.
Tension appears to be high all around with the Pistons these days, as losses and frustration are mounting after the season began with so much optimism. Bynum’s playing style takes occasional criticism, but few if any have questioned his heart and intentions.
“No, I don’t regret it,” Bynum said. “I regret that maybe I was too passionate about it. But other than that, I don’t.”