Waiting until just 24 hours before the window closed, it appears the Lakers have reached a contract extension deal with Andrew Bynum. The deal is expected to be a three-year extension for $42 million, which works out to $14 million a year. The Lakers would reportedly have a have a fourth-year option at $16 million. So, in the end, we are talking 4 years at $58 million.
Bynum, who is 21, looked good in the couple of Lakers wins so far this season — he is averaging 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots per game, is pulling down 24% of the available rebounds is shooting 53%. He outplayed Clipper center Chris Kaman on Wednesday night. More importantly, he and Pau Gasol seem to be developing a real chemistry, one that will keep the Lakers as contenders (along with that Kobe guy) for the next several years.
This is a pretty fair deal for everyone — Bynum gets a big raise, not quite max but close. The Lakers get a little cushion in case he never fully recovers or reinjures his knees, as the deal can end after three years. Although, my bet, is that in four years the negotiations are far simpler, because he’ll get a max deal.
If Bynum is the future anchor of the franchise when Kobe and Gasol are gone, they need to keep him happy. And that means pay him more than maybe they needed to if they let the market decide is fate this spring (then again, maybe not, he could have drawn a high bid from some team hoping the Lakers wouldn’t match).
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that rules NBA contract negotiations, the Lakers and Bynum have until tomorrow. Traditionally teams future (or existing) young stars are signed to an extension by the Oct. 31 deadline, it’s a sign of respect from the organization. Chris Paul, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade all signed extensions by that time. Wade and James also signed shorter three-year deals, making them unrestricted free agents earlier. Don’t get a deal signed and, well, ask Bulls fans how things are going with Ben Gordon.