Andrew Bynum, Free Agency, And Uncertainty

Darius Soriano —  June 4, 2012

Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Deron Williams.

What do those names have in common?

All-stars? Check. All-NBA performers? Indeed. Franchise cornerstones? You betcha.

They’re all also players that had their free agency status become a major storyline within the last couple of years. Questions about whether they’d stay or go once their contracts were up or if their team would end up trading them were discussed ad nauseam by fans and media alike. Besides Dwight Howard, none of those players actually does still play for the team that wrestled with their star player’s contract status (and Dwight may not start next season on the Magic either). LeBron and Bosh left as free agents (though technically were signed and traded) while Paul, Carmelo, and Deron were all traded for packages of attractive assets (young players, expiring contracts, and draft picks).

Will Andrew Bynum be next?

One of the under-discussed topics related to Bynum’s future is the fact that he’s entering into his walk year; that after next season he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. The Lakers’ front office has already stated they’re planning to pick up Andrew’s option for next season, but beyond that we don’t yet know what his future holds.

Will he sign a contract extension? Will he test the waters and explore his free agent options? No one really knows at this point.

When asked about his future after the Lakers’ game 5 defeat to the Thunder, Bynum first said that he didn’t care where he played and then added that he’d like to remain a Laker. Many have made a big deal about the “I don’t care” part of his statement but when put it into context it doesn’t bother me much at all.

Remember, Bynum’s name has appeared in countless trade rumors over the years and his mindset has always been that he’d play anywhere. It’s this mindset that’s at least partially allowed him to blossom as a player, a growth that contributes to him having the type of value that makes him attractive on the trade and free agent market. In essence, I prefer to focus on what he’s done – improve his game while contributing to the success of the team – rather than a soundbite that only shows he’ll try to continue to grow as a player regardless of where he’s playing.

That said, what’s different now is that it’s not the Lakers that hold all the cards. Bynum will have the ability to stay (sign an extension) or go (walk after next season) all while being non-committal about the entire process. Basically, his situation can quickly become comparable to the aforementioned stars above.

The Lakers front office has made their feelings about Bynum known. They see him as a franchise pillar that can be built upon. Issues surrounding attitude and maturity exist, but do so inside the body of a 7’1″, 285 pound man with long arms, soft hands, and tremendous skill. Wanting to keep that package of traits in-house is preferable to the alternative. Sure there’s some risk. Whether or not he matures and, if he does, the timeline in which it happens are important. Can his game continue to grow and can he take the next step, skill wise, to become an even better player? These are unknowns.

And this contributes to the dilemma the Lakers have on their hands. Bynum has shown tremendous progress as a player but still has enough issues to warrant serious questioning. Meanwhile his ability to decide his own future puts the Lakers in a position where they must explore all their options. We’ve been talking a lot about the framework of the team and the tough choices the Lakers have to make this off-season and Bynum’s contract status is a key component that must accounted for.

How much this will influence the Lakers remains to be seen. But, to be sure, it will influence them. Because despite this team obviously living in the short term world of “win now” while Kobe Bryant is still a top level contributor, the future is also very important. That means looking at the luxury tax and revenue sharing. It means looking at Gasol’s value. And, it means looking at Andrew Bynum and his looming free agency.

Darius Soriano

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to Andrew Bynum, Free Agency, And Uncertainty

  1. The biggest problems I have with Andrew Bynum are:
    1. Is he coachable? This wasn’t the case this year.
    2. Does he have heart? He did not appear that way this year or any past year.

    Without these two factors, I don’t think Andrew can be a winner nor star.


  2. Great Post.

    I didn’t think of it that way before. Bynum does hold the cards he can hold Lakers hostage if he wants. And with what he’s been through I’m sure he’ll test free agency just like Kobe did. Last superstars to test free agency and come back to their teams were Kobe, Wade and Duncan. Pillars for their respective franchises something Bynum is not. I’m sure he listens to talk radio and hears fans want him gone. This story will definitely get played up by national media.

    Will Bynum be next? I say yes if he doesn’t sign an extensions by ASB.


  3. Someone will offer Bynum the maximum in free agency.

    If I’m running the Lakers, I don’t think that I would match. Yes, the talent is there. Yes, the potential is there.

    But what else is there? Years and years of injury and health concerns. Unending immaturity and coachability concerns. A disturbing lack of heart, fire and desire.

    And only flashes of dominance here and there, when Bynum gives enough of a **** to bother showing it. If I’m the Lakers, and a good package shows up, I move Bynum now while his stock is high. I don’t see him getting much better than he currently is and I question his ability to win and hold a locker room.

    To me, Andrew Bynum is an All-Star, not a Superstar. All-Stars are great second banana type players, but they are not players you can build a title team around.

    I hope I am wrong. I really and truly do. But right now, watching Andrew Bynum is like wishing for the Wizard of Oz to show up: you’re wondering if the mighty Oz will grant the wishes that Bynum be given a heart, a brain and a body that won’t break-down.


  4. Bynum has been in the league long enough for us to see what kind of player he is. Even at 24 yo, I don’t think we’ll see any major changes to his skills.

    With that said, we should ship him before he test free agency.


  5. By the way Darius, is there any chance we can start having polls on this site?

    There are so many controversial and interesting subjects around the Lakers that being able to put up the occasional poll for readers to vote in would be a fun way to get a “finger on the pulse of Laker nation” view of things.


  6. Funky Chicken June 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Darius has chosen the more optimistic view of Bynum’s “I don’t care” and “there are banks in every city” comments by pointing out that this mentality has allowed him to play well in spite of somewhat persistent trade rumors. It’s not a bad point.

    There is, however, a more pessimistic view of those comments. One could just as easily explain away Bynum’s lack of focus, bad sportsmanship, and poor defensive focus and effort by saying that those comments evidence a guy who at heart just doesn’t care about winning.

    My fear is that last year Andrew made a leap forward as a player and a leap backward as a guy you want to build a franchise around. His talent and potential are inarguable, but his commitment to winning can easily be questioned. One need look no further than the far less talented big guys remaining in the playoffs to see the sort of effort that Andrew lacks.

    This is a potentially bad situation. After the way he behaved this year, the Lakers can’t give Bynum the extension this summer that he’s eligible for. This ensures that he’ll play next year as a guy in his “walk year” and will likely be questioned all season long about his status with the Lakers. There’s nothing about his past comments that makes me think he’ll handle those questions particularly well (read: he’ll answer them honestly…), and this entire situation will likely serve as a distraction–especially if the team struggles.

    For this reason, and because the league has clearly changed to a guard’s league (watching the final four teams with not one single legitimate 7-footer should disabuse anyone from thinking that a big center is necessary any more), I think the team would be wise to explore options to move Andrew for an explosive guard. One might not be available, but you’ve got to at least look. And before Aaron or anyone else repeats the “you don’t trade big for small” mantra, it should be noted that trading Andrew would still leave the Lakers with a guy who is better than any center left in the playoffs, which isn’t such a bad thing if you get a top quality guard and add a physical PF to the mix….


  7. since'79Lakers June 4, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Javelle Mcgee has greater potential than AB… Its like he’s learning the game, slow as hell, mind you but he’s learning. AB has peaked because he feels entitled. Lakers 7ft HOFers, Kareem, Wilt, Mikan, Chamberlain & Shaq. This AB guy won’t do… Doesn’t fit LakerLand definition of “center”…


  8. Folks, this isn’t a guard’s league – unless you want to count the regular season as the beat-all-and-end-all.

    The problem is that there are lots of people 6’6″ and under who want to play basketball, but at 7′, most of the players want to hone their guard skills and shoot 3-ptrs. Thus, there are very few back-to-the-basket centers. Of course the game gravitates to a guard orientated game.

    However, at playoff time – when the game slows down and the officials start to swallow their whistles – you better have a banger down low, or you are going to be hammered to death.

    Keep this fact in mind when you call for trading Andrew and keeping Pau. Also, remember, Phil’s style of play was to keep the cutters in the game at the end. The only time he varied from this was when he had Shaq and, if he did this, Shaq would quit entirely on him and he would be labeled as a coach who couldn’t handle good big men. Thus, this is the first year Andrew has been exposed to constant end-game pressure.

    Not saying I will change your mind with this post – but try to think about it.


  9. Going into next season with more uncertainty will hold this team back. Another season of who’s going to be here who’s not will not serve Lakers well. A Dwight situation this year replaced with Bynum would be bad news. Everyone has to be pulling for each other with this uphill battle Lakers have. That can’t happen if Lakers are in the same situation they were in this year.

    Is Bynum’s agent the same as Ariza’s?


  10. Personally I believe Bynum loves playing for the Lakers and would commit without hesitation to an extension. However I don’t think Bynum likes playing with Kobe.

    Yes Kobe is “all-everything” and the chances of the Lakers moving Kobe is as close to zero as possible (w/ a huge reason being what team wants to pay an aging 2 guard who passes reluctantly at best $27 million a year).

    For all the negative talk LeBron receives from his haters, I believe most players would rather play with him than Kobe. Kobe just doesn’t share the ball enough to keep his big man happy. And anyone who knows ball knows that’s a big component in effective teamwork.

    Will Kobe change? I don’t see it. He truly appears incapable. Best chance of keeping Bynum after next season is to have a point guard who Kobe can’t intimidate. A point guard who will decide if Kobe or Bynum gets the ball.


  11. a couple years of Bynum uncertainty would for sure ruin any chance of Kobe getting his 6th ring, if he stay as a laker. for this reason alone, imho, we (ok, not we, FO) should try to trade bynum this off season. that dude in NJ is my preferred choice.

    >>Is Bynum’s agent the same as Ariza’s?
    yes, David Lee


  12. Getting rid of Bynum would help solve many of the issues the team had last season – poor transition d, poor p&r d, giving up offensive boards, lack of chemistry, Gasol playing out of position, lack of driving lanes for Kobe and Sessions, lack of post opportunities for Kobe and MWP, immaturity and selfish behavior, lack of respect for the coach.

    As good as Bynum is individually, he is largely
    responsible for many, if not most, of the weaknesses weakness on this team.


  13. @ since’79Lakers. I’ve been a Laker fan since ’65 and I’ve seen Wilt & Kareem moping around like Bynum at points in their Laker career. Lakers will be making a serious error if they move Bynum for anyone not named Dwight Howard. Javelle Mcgee…you must be kidding.


  14. Losing Bynum has it’s negatives Lakers lone advantage size is gone. If he was a defensive beast with his questionable maturity NO WAY you trade him. The way he can dominate a game consistently is on defense and rebounding. He fails to show up in that area and he’s always the biggest guy on the floor.

    Bynum’s shot attempts always come up. This year he averaged 13.3 FGA per game. Dwight averaged 13.4 FGA per game and he doesn’t play with 2 hall of famers. What’s Bynum’s excuse for not averaging 14.5 reb and 2.1 blks like Howard?


  15. There is that old song “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” Regardless of whether you believe he gives 100% or not, Andrew gave us 18.7 ppg 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks a game. And he could be a beast on D. All very good numbers. Keep in mind that this was done without shooters to spread the floor, as the 2nd option to Kobe, sharing the rebounds with Pau, the 7th best re-bounder in the league this year and Kobe, Pau, and Metta all sharing the post. Those number would be very hard to replace with another guy, even Howard.

    Contrast this to D Howard. 20.6 ppg, 14.5 re-bounds, and 2.2 blocks as the first option. Plus he had shooters all around him and no other dynamic re-bounders.

    There is what believe is a misconception about how athletic a center needs to be. You rarely see centers except for Pau leading a break. I don’t recall seeing D Howard on the wing of a break very often. Perkins isn’t a mobile guy, but OKC has other guys to run the break. That’s were we need to improve.

    As far as money, Andrew is a max guy as is, not with any further improvement but now. That is just the reality of the big man market. Fortuntely the F.O understands the value of a big man. Unless it’s for D Howard, I would be very surprised to see Andrew moved.


  16. @billbill, “a couple years of Bynum uncertainty would for sure ruin any chance of Kobe getting his 6th ring”. An interesting statement. I for one hope the Lakers front office is more concerned with building a championship quality team for years to come, rather than trying to get an aging, inefficient, salary cap killing superstar passed his prime his 6th ring.

    Kobe has 2 years left on his contract, at an insane $58,302,000. That’s more than the entire payroll of seven teams in the NBA. And 3 of those teams made the playoffs this season, with one (Pacers) making it to the 2nd round, same as the Lakers. Think about it.


  17. Funky Chicken June 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Craig W, your post sounds very much like the conventional wisdom, but don’t the facts really say the opposite? None of the 4 remaining teams have a quality center. Kevin Garnett is currently the best center in the playoffs, and he’s a perimeter oriented power forward.

    By contrast, the final four teams have Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and Rajon Rondo running point. Only Miami does not have a great PG, and they can get away with it because they have two unbelievably talented wing players (and it’s not clear that they can actually win a title this way).

    The Lakers recently won two titles without a “banger” in the middle (Bynum contributed very little to those playoff runs), and you’d be hard pressed to identify a single NBA champion in the last 10 years that had a physically dominant center leading the way. It just doesn’t happen that way any more.

    Now, turning the middle over to Pau Gasol is not going to work if you flank him with a perimeter-oriented and soft PF (like he had alongside him in Radmanovic the last time he lost a playoff series as a starting center). But, if the Lakers can turn Bynum into a great PG and physical PF, I think it is fairly clear that in today’s NBA they’d be fine come playoff time.


  18. @Michael H:

    A few key parts of your post:

    “he could be a beast on D” – He sure could be, when he wanted to. Which you never knew on a night-to-night basis whether he would want to or not. Howard also defends the pick and roll much, much better.

    “Keep in mind that this was done without shooters to spread the floor, as the 2nd option to Kobe, etc.” – That has it’s flip side as well. Most of the time during the regular season, defenses were geared to stop Kobe, not Bynum. We saw what happened in the playoffs when they switched to keying in on Drew. His shooting percentage sank like a stone.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that Bynum has had this kind of season ONE TIME. In his very best season he couldn’t compare to Howard while Howard was sleepwalking through half the season because he wanted to be traded.

    Lastly, look at durability. Before this season, Howard has been an ironman. He’s been basically invulnerable. And you look at him, he has the sort of build and conditioning that make you think he’ll be playing at peak level longer than most big men.

    It is true that Bynum is one of the best big men in the league today, but he is nowhere close to Howard’s level on a night-in and night-out basis.


  19. Michael H,

    On the flip side of the coin, Dwight didn’t have two elite playmakers like Kobe and Gasol, for the assisted easy buckets.

    The stats might be comparable, but when it comes to transition defense and pick and roll defense, two of the major weaknesses on this team that the opposition continually attacked and exposed during the playoffs, then there really is no comparison. Dwight is arguably the best pick and roll and transition defending big man in the league, while Bynum is at the bottom half, and that’s being quite generous.


  20. Kobe impacts the game with his aggressiveness. Pau impacts the game with his elite passing everyone is a threat it’s hard to double him or he’ll make you pay. Ron with his defense and intimidation factor. Bynum with his size. Nothing more comes to mind. He impacts the game because of his size not because he forces his will on teams. Being the biggest player in the league he’s suppose to affect the outcome of games on a nightly basis he does not more times than he does.

    Faried showed size can be neutralized with hustle and determination. Perkins with his brute strength. And other coaches with schemes. Replacing Bynum’s size would be impossible. The impact he provides can be in other ways.


  21. I know many fans already have Bynum’s bags packed. The real question is not should he be traded. It is who comes back if he is traded. Unless the Lakers get a bona fide, NBA star back they better hold on to him.

    You don’t just trade a player to get rid of him. You trade players to get better. Other than Williams or Howard I can’t think of any other player I would move him for. And even those two have their own questions/issues.


  22. Micahel H,
    It is like hitting your head against a wall sometimes isn’t it? If we don’t remember our history we are doomed to repeat it. Magic fans got their wish and shipped their “lazy, moody,” Center out of town… and it didn’t work out to well for them. They learned fro their mistakes and did everything they could to keep Howard in Florida. Luckily the Lakers are too smart. They had many chances to trade Bynum for “smaller” stars and didn’t. They know how to run a franchise. Bynum is now the best Center in the game until Dwight proves he has healed from back surgery (something few have done before). But I have long been a giant Howard fan. I have called him the second best player in the NBA behind LeBron for five years now. Although he doesn’t have a back to the basket low post game he is exactly what you want from your Center in todays NBA. He is a PnR offensive Center on both sides of the ball. The Magic surround him with shooters not so they can lob the ball to him down low… but to open up the paint for PnR actions.

    Most of what you say it true. But flopping is part of the game. Wade years ago was one of the quickest and most explosive guards to ever play. He played with intensity and composure…And you cannot take that away from him.


  23. It all comes down to whether or not we like Andrew. After that question we all are able to summon the statistics to back up our opinion.

    My opinion is that he adds much more than he subtracts and he is a unique talent who draws attention, comments, and puts ‘bu**s’ in the seats. That last fact is probably enough reason to keep Andrew. It is also the reason that no Laker FO person is going to trade Kobe – he puts $ in the cash register, at home or on the road.

    The Lakers have always been successful when they lead the league, not when they followed. Trying to be like the other successful teams doesn’t seem like a very good way to stand out. In L.A. the team must stand out. That is why this city has been a Laker town, even when they weren’t in the finals (2005-2007).

    What I think most fans fail to take into account is that the Buss family is focusing on keeping the Lakers different and relevant – not fitting them into the rest of the NBA.


  24. I don’t think anyone ever questioned the abilities of kareem or wilt during the playoffs. Bynum’s playoff attitude has been a question mark for 2 years in a row. And the concept of needing “a center” in the playoffs is a bit dated. Tyson Chandler is not a true center. He’s got very little offensive skills, but tons of heart and defensive energy. Chandler helped the Mavs win last year, but was not the reason. You would like to think that kobe would be able to get into Bynum’s head and give him the additional motivation for the playoffs, but I don’t see that happening.


  25. T Rogers,
    There probably is not one NBA GM in the history of the NBA that would take DWill back in return for Andrew Bynum. To trade away the top Center in the NBA (until Howard proves he can play again) for an older PG when PGs are everywhere? If you have not looked around there are star PGs all over the earth. You can get them in the second round. I love D Will… he is the 5th or 6th best PG in the game… but I would not trade Roy Hibburt for him. Well… I would think about it long and hard and then trade Hibburt for him. But only because people don’t come to games to watch Roy play.


  26. TRogers: Agree I wouldn’t trade him unless it’s for a superstar. Bynum has leverage now as the post says. He’s in a walk year, his agent has bad blood with Lakers FO and stars control their destiny.

    7 game stretch 5-2 record

    Bynum 23.1 ppg 14.1 reb 48% FG – 7 blocks – 7 ast. 30 rebound game

    Pau 21.1 ppg 10.1 reb 46% FG – 10 blocks – 36 ast. Triple Double 22/11/11


  27. Craig W:

    I can think of a lot of reasons to keep Bynum…people showing up specifically to watch him play is not among them. I highly, highly doubt that Bynum puts a ton of butts in the seats.

    Bynum is not a star from a marketing and sales standpoint. He’s not a high flyer like Blake Griffin, or an oversized personality and absolute giant who looks like a man playing amongst boys like Shaq or a physical specimen who leads his undermatched team to upsets against other superstars like Howard.

    Bynum is a physical force. He’s big, and when engaged, can dominate on both ends of the court. The reasons to keep him are all basketball reasons, not ticket sale reasons.


  28. Decisions,decisions! Big time stuff concerning Bynum, involving tens of millions of dollars and the future of a great franchise.

    IMO, Drew should moved now for some good pieces. I have never seen him compete at a high level on a consistent basis. He doesn’t seem to have the motor that the truly great players have. This year’s playoffs offered him the opportunity to ascend to the next level and he failed to meet his team’s needs.

    Drew’s knees also are an ongoing concern. He is always the slowest player on the court. His lack of defensive quickness is exploited by other teams on a regular basis. And he just doesn’t seem to get involved on defense unless he gets his “touches”. Yet, he can have stretches of dominance. Andrew is truly a front office dilemma. I just hope the Lakers’ braintrust makes the right call on his future.


  29. Bynum is not going if we don’t get a star big man in return. And that’s the bottom line ’cause Stone Cold said so.


  30. First of all anyone who believes that Andrew wasn’t doubled all year long needs to revise the tape.

    2nd Everyone in the league understood that the Lakers best offense was post offense. Without an consistent outside threat, defenses collapsed the paint. Making not only difficult for Andre but for Kobe, Pau and Meeta as well.

    And in the pick and roll defense our scheme had Andrew shoeing on the ball handler. Our overall rotations were often weak. Howard may have lead the league in blocks off of weak side help but for altered shots he isn’t close to Andrew, he simply isn’t as long. Yes Howard has been an iron man but will will see if that continues after back surgery. As for Andrew yes this was his best statistical year but let’s not forget that Lamar was in the rotations in the past. He has shown this kind of ability for several years now. Health was also an issue. Will he get hurt again? I don’t know. Will Howard? You really can’t say. All I know is what wins. Balance, size and experience. We currently have two of three.


  31. I’d like to amend my previous comment. I did see Drew really compete and dominate in the weeks prior to his 2nd knee injury. Though he has played well and emerged as an All-Star since then, Drew has never regained the explosiveness that he had prior to his injuries.


  32. Am I tripping or did our “franchise” big man put up a 10 and 4 in a playoff elimination game, all while being single covered? How can any Bynum fan justify that?

    For my money we’ve seen about 9 variations of Andrew Bynum and only 2 of them are anywhere near franchise players. Andrew Bynum 2.0 (Oct 2007-Jan 08) the one that dunked without gathering, caught alley-oops in traffic and did spin moves like a young Shaq was beast. I’ll also take Andrew 7.0 (Feb 2011-Apr 2011) the one with Bill Russell defensive instincts that challanged every shot and attacked every rebound.

    If one of those two Bynums come back were good, but Andrew 9.0 is a skilled, but plodding, low energy player, that either isn’t trying hard or doesn’t trust his knee. That version needs a software update or a trade, period


  33. 1/2decaf1/2regular: No not quite it’s many different variables that go into this which can’t be fully explained in one post. My stance has always been from the beginning Bynum is overrated and is not a franchise player. Giving him the max would not be smart. The front office did themselves a disservice when they prematurely gave him an extension in 08. With his increased production since Lakers can’t give him anything less than the max now.

    Turning over the franchise to Bynum means you expect him to play world class defense and put up 20-10 on a nightly basis. I don’t think he can do that. Will he put forth the effort every night like Kobe did from 05-07 on a rebuilding team? No

    Twin towers will never work because of foot speed. One of them will be gone this summer it’s inevitable. I could give you reasons why trading either or is the right/smart move. But what I keep coming back to is how good is Bynum? If he’s not in line with past Laker great centers you let him go. It’s only fair to Kobe you give him the best chance to win and getting rid of your third best player for a superstar is the right move.


  34. There are three players that want and need to play down low on theblock and the paint in general.
    Bynum, Pau and Kobe.

    One of the is untradeable so one of the bigs has to go.
    So which one? Which one gets you the pieces you need to win NOW?
    There’s only one conclusion in my mind and that’s Andrew Bynum gets traded.

    A serviceable big man that plays tough and and rebounds along with another player with perimeter quickness and outside shooting and the Lakers would be in a better position that they are now.
    The Lakers would still have two legit post up players(Pau&Kobe) and that is two more than most other teams have.


  35. “If he’s not in line with past Laker great centers you let him go. It’s only fair to Kobe you give him the best chance to win and getting rid of your third best player for a superstar is the right move.”


    This quote gets to what irks me about this conversation. Trading Bynum does not happen in a vacuum. Your comment here acts as if there is a world class player (or players) out there just waiting to be had that will carry Kobe to the promised land.

    People are focusing so much on who Bynum isn’t they are not thinking about who his replacement needs to be. Miami is not sending back LeBron. OKC is not sending back Durant, Westbrook, or Harden. These are the kinds of players a Bynum trade would have to net if it is to be profitable to the Lakers in the way you are implying above.

    We are letting our emotions cloud our ability to see the totality of the situation. It is not about wanting to trade him. It is about what the team needs to get back to make the trade worthwhile. Talk about him being a lazy, not as good as Kareem, or not as driven as Kobe is irrelevant. Any players another team would offer up would only be offered because they have issues as well.


  36. In figuring out how best to move forward, there is only one person I can think of who, despite my gratitude for everything he has given us in the past: (1) has an insanely high usage percentage, (2) converts his attempts (especially in the biggest moments) with decreasing regularity, and (3) whose penchant for relentless self-promotion incurs the resentment of those around him….

    It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I see no choice but to amnesty Aaron.


  37. This is the 1st year Bynum has been featured in the playoffs. He played well the first four games. He was our most consistent guy. Why they went away from him is still a mystery to me. The 5th game he got into early foul trouble. He was not as aggressive as he should have been in the 4th quarter but then the team was not exactly looking for him either. That 5th game was a team problem, not just a Andrew problem. One can question Kobe in games 2 and 3. You can question Pau. You can question Blake passing on open looks. Losing to OKC. Was a team effort. Not one guy. You don’t get rid of a guy over a single game, if you do, you have to get rid of everyone including Kobe.


  38. Funky Chicken June 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Aaron, in order to not forget history you have to actually KNOW the history in the first place. Orlando did not ship out Shaquille O’Neal. They tried as hard as they possibly could, and watched in horror as their FREE AGENT center turned down their offer of more money to go play in Los Angeles.

    You’re darn right it didn’t work out well for them. That’s because they got nothing in return. To somehow equate that historical example with trading Bynum for Deron Williams is really not worthy of this blog. The historical parallel would be letting Bynum walk for nothing in return–a prospect that is not exactly out of the question if Bynum continues down the path of not caring where he plays and doesn’t cooperate with a sign and trade that the Lakers want next summer….

    And your contention that star guards can be found all over the earth, and in the 2nd round, is about as accurate as your knowledge of Orlando Magic history.

    The Lakers need a great (not a good) point guard. If they can get one (in the 2nd round, via free agency, or by trading Pau) then I’m all for it. However, what history DOES show is that you rarely get back a star-quality PG by giving up an overpaid guy whose best years are behind him.


  39. If Andrew is traded for D Will we will have to fill the PF spot. Since Andrew and Pau run with 2nd unit we would need a go to player for the 2nd unit. We will also need a back up center. Hill is a PF and no guarantee that we can keep him. Of course we still will lack shooters and at least another athletic wing player. Can’t see how we are better with that trade.


  40. Unless a franchise altering deal is made this off season I don’t see the Lakers trading either big men. There is something to continuity and it is easier to think that this core of players can mend their on-court problems easier than bringing in a new crew that has to adjust to the personalities of: Kobe, Bynum, Pau and MWP.
    Players that join the Lakers have to have big personalities and not afraid of big moments under the Lakers klieg lights.

    Before the Lakers bring any player to town they need to use a metric that determines how a player plays under scrutiny in Los Angeles, and how well they can play on an opposing team’s court. I believe there is a sports psychological system that makes these determinations for college players and future draft picks. Most players aren’t prepared to play away games against teams that play the Lakers like it’s a playoff game.

    Bynum has yet to reach his potential as he was drafted on a team where his usage level the past seven seasons was minuscule. Had Bynum been drafted on a team like Washington, Sacramento, Golden State, Charlotte or New Orleans he might have developed into a consistent player by now merely because he would have been on the court learning on the fly.

    Will Bynum mature to the point that he can put the team on his back and carry them on offense and defense? This is the dilemma that the Lakers face. I think there’d be no question of bringing Bynum back if he re-hired KAJ. Bynum was a more intense warrior when KAJ was his teacher. Bynum thought he was ready to remove the pebble from his Sensei’s hand, he was not. It was not time for him to leave KAJ. Grass hopper (Bynum) it was not time for you to go!


  41. Michael H:

    You can’t get something for nothing. The downside of trading EITHER Bynum or Gasol is that you are then thinner in the frontcourt.

    That doesn’t mean that you don’t do a deal anyway. For example, do you think that the Nets might be interested in a deal of Bynum for D Will and Brook Lopez with some pieces thrown in to make the salaries work? (Or not even that if you do a sign and trade with Bynum.)

    You’re not going to get a PG like Williams and an equal big-man back, but getting a serviceable big with potential and Williams is something that might happen.

    Plenty of people feel that Bynum is a budding franchise cornerstone and a max money player. If that’s the case, then he could conceivably have enough value to get an all-star PG AND a replacement big back.

    Or, alternatively, if you get a franchise PG like Williams, then maybe you move Sessions for a mid-level big.

    Right now the only wrong move for the Lakers is to stand pat and do nothing or just tinker around the edges.


  42. Having read the comments I must concur with the realists. Bynum is not a perfect player. He will never be the defensive force Dwight Howard is, but Howard is not the offensive force Bynum is. Secondly Howard apparently does not want to play with a selfish two guard taking 23 shots per game and shooting 43 pct. Big men are a premium, its why the Celtics are tied with the Heat. KG is beating up on the group of backup centers Miami is playing. How much of Bynum’s maturity problems are related to the lack of accountability involved in allowing Kobe to jack up any shot he desires at any time? Before the game all the commentators talk of the necessity of getting the ball inside. Then Kobe goes out and does what he wants with no consequenes. Gasol’s game is impacted by sharing post space with Kobe and Bynum. The Lakers had a virtually perfect big man rotation until they got rid of Odom. They made a financial decision, fine its not my job to tell the Buss’s to spend 50-80 million in luxury tax. But these issues are connected. So such questions as how much longer is Kobe going to be allowed to play inefficient hero ball, can Sessions or anyone else guard an elite point guard, and how to guard pick and roll defense with two seven footers on the floor are questions related to what to do about Bynum. Without Howard, the Lakers will receive less back, and look at Golden State which took Bogut hoping he would be healthy next year and McGee who did nothing in Washington but yet Denver took a chance. Finally Bynum is not going to be Kareem, Chamberlain, or Shaq. But he’s already better than Divacs a several times all star – and he’s just 24.


  43. Team option exercised on Bynum. Where does this lead to?


  44. KG is playing pretty well right now, but Rondo is carrying that team. We don’t need to get DH12 back if we move Bynum- we just need to get a big that will bang down low and play defense. That’s it. I’ll take Williams if we can get a serviceable big somehow, as well.

    If it’s Bynum or Pau, then I would choose to move Bynum because you can get more back for him and his knees still scare the crap out of me.


  45. TRogers: that’s one quote out of many you chose in a post I though I was even keel in. Trading Bynum or Pau your going to leave a void to fill a hole. You rarely get equal value when trading a star. Deron and Dwight quantify as that. I wouldn’t trade Drew for anyone other than those two.


  46. 2nd, 3rd and 4th that Lil Pau.


  47. Kevin: I agree that trading for D12 (only if proven healthy) or DW should be the top priority. The question is what to do if we do not get that done? Standing pat has not proven a good strategy the past 2 years (well we actually moved backwards), and do you think we can become a contender with the 60th pick, the MLE, and castoffs? A Pau trade will not bring too much either. In the new CBA especially – there is another path and it is very painful in the short run. However this does not mean it is not the correct path. Basically, you stockpile picks, young players, and position to get under the cap. We need to either contend or re-build. Finishing “6th” gets you no banners and no lottery picks. It is an easy – non-controversial path however, and it is also the probable direction for next year – then we will see what happens with the AB nightmare negotiations.


  48. I agree with Funky Chicken here. There have been reports to the effect that Brookyn would (understandably) prefer the cap space to getting Pau for DW. Whether Bynum for DW will actually be a realistic possibility remains to be seen.

    As to Bynum:

    1. I agree, and have said, that the lack of foot speed is an issue, when you have him playing with Gasol, Kobe and MWP. Kobe made several comments this year about how slow the Lakers are.
    2. Bynum is obviously very good. I doubt that he will get much if any better, however, between his knee and having been in the league for seven years. The counter argument is that he does not have much game experience, relative to his service time.


  49. We need to either contend or re-build.


    Like I said in that email, I am waiting for the specifics of the rebuild plan. You can’t post that here–against the rules–but I would like to know who exactly you would trade Pau and Bynum to for expirings/youth/picks after you amnestied Kobe and beefed up your personal security and bodyguard teams.

    Ticket sales would crater if they did that, and they would still probably be on the hook to Kobe for 30-40M.


  50. Robert: That’s why the veto hurts it solved the future of the franchise and cap. That was the perfect deal. Now one trade asset is gone and the other is damaged goods. I was in favor of moving Pau at the deadline because teams are going to try to low ball Lakers give his age, salary and he’ll play Olympics this summer this offseason.

    “The question is what to do if we do not get that done?”

    The easy answer which is trading Pau. 3 teamers are difficult which is why he won’t net Deron unless Jersey gets real desperate which I don’t see because they have cap space and can shell money out. I don’t want to speculate trade s but Toronto has the #8 pick and a stretch 4. That’s the only scenario where I can see Lakers staying at the 6th best team. Trading Pau won’t improve our title chances it’ll improve depth.


  51. the other Stephen June 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    lil pau, your comment made me chuckle. 😀


  52. Funky chicken,
    How’s your reading comprehension? I never said Orlando traded him. I said their fan base wanted him gone. The entire year the fans were complaining Shaq was “lazy, un motivated, took games off, and didn’t care about basketball in our of music and film”. Then Orlando gave him a low ball offer which Shaq said “made him realize they didn’t want him.” Jerry West later said that if Orlando didnt give him that home of an offer the Lakers wouldn’t have been able to sign him. Like I said… Be careful what you wish for Lakers fans.


  53. This is the 2nd game that Durant has disappeared.

    The Spurs are discombobulating at home, right in front of our eyes. What happened to the excellent ball and man movement?


  54. Lakers front office just pick up the pieces..IMHO, it they will stick with is simple as that, they try to trade Pau in the pre-season…if we look back at this scenario..the lakers management want another perimeter player that will carry the load of Kobe…if Mitch will pull this trigger, it might be another perimeter/wing/slasher type of player, an all star, i suppose..if thats the case, we need another stretch forward in return…thats only my opinion,,,


  55. I’m really rethinking why I didn’t add on to my OKC series bet after they lost the first two games… I was trying talk myself into it… But I guess I did not have enough confidence in my “basketball genius”. The cream eventually rises to the top as they say. It’s going to set up a great Finals showdown. When was the last time there was a position battle like this in the Finals? LeBron versus Durant? Wow. Last matchup like this was Hakeem v Shaq in 95.


  56. Bynum came to LA at the wrong time, Phil did not like to start a rookie. If Bynum came to San Antonio, Popovich would start him right away like SA coach did to Tony Parker. Each coach had different style of coaching.

    Look at this playoffs, Danny Granger of Indiana had bad games, center Hibbert had the same, Idagula of Philadelphia couldn’t shoot free throw,…, Bynum had some bad games, i was not surprised, Shaq said before, you have to fail before you can win, that’s the tough road NBA players had to go through.

    After game 2 in OKC, i don’t blame any Lakers players for any thing because your leader with 5 rings made big mistakes in the big games 2 years in row, remember not one , two in a row. Let’s be fair .


  57. Jim C,

    I really can’t see the Nets trading both D Will and Lopez for Andrew. Lopez is pretty good and could help fill out the roster in another trade. You also have to consider D Will. Would he even want to come here without Bynum? Kobe will be 34 and Pau will be 33. He would be back in the same situation in 2 years.

    I think the only way we get D Will is if he states he wants to play here or he walks to Dallas. And then it will still take a 3rd team like maybe the Rockets getting involved to with pieces they like.


  58. That Kawhi Leonard is one cool player. A ready for primetime player!


  59. The Lakers have been slow for years. They had some quickness back when they had Ariza, Farmar and arguably Bryant (not the same gear shifting ability then) but they were down to Brown the prior season and he was more of jumper than racer. Not everyone on these perimeter-based teams are speed demons from 1 to 5. That was an additional level of heinous short-sightedness in the decisions to add Murphy and Kapono to an already slow Walton, Gasol, Bynum, Artest instead of Gerald Green and giving the youngsters some time. They can still win with some lumbering players as long as there is some speed to balance it out.


  60. Michael H,

    All good points on Williams. But Dallas has the same issues WRT age although their cap situation is much better. I think Williams being here is unlikely but not impossible. The team and Williams might prefer a deal with an out clause after 14 if it actually happened.


  61. The thing to keep in mind is this: Shaq turned into a motivated beast after leaving LA.

    Bynum surely will as well.

    If we can get him to be that motivated while staying in LA, I’m all for keeping him.

    But even if that’s unlikely… the other thing to consider is whether he is good enough to make us pay for the trade by turning a team into a contender just by himself (plus some pieces).


  62. This Thunder team the Lakers will have to face for the next decade. Scary proposition. At a young age we saw Kobe and LeBron on the path to the HOF. Durant is paving his way right now.


  63. Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Deron Williams.

    Things these players have in common with Bynum? I see only one, they all play in the NBA.

    The list above are Superstars who carry their teams, with the ability to take over games and franchises and make them special.

    Since Bynum was entered into big starters minutes, the Lakers have not exited the 2nd round – or even come close – and there was never a big playoff game/moment where you knew that Bynum was going to bring it.

    Plus – dude is injury prone like no other.

    Bynum ? Shaq. Shaq was a far superior player to Bynum before leaving the Magic (had already led his team to the finals w/ Penny), and then got better.

    Bynum is likely peaked.

    The article was very well written. But the comparison has to end. Bynum is not a superstar level player.


  64. RR

    Cap space isn’t the only advantage Dallas has. It’s also home. I think a 3 team involving Pau is the only way we can land D Will. An emerging Bynum and Kobe still playing at a high level would be about the only way you could entice him to come here.


  65. rr, michaelh: no state tax either.

    Who’s ready for Bynum vs Durant for the next decade?


  66. There is no easy way through success. Bynum has to go through this struggles in his attitudes, game play. Shaq and Kobe didn’t won championships in easy style. They’ve earned it in fought in a hard way.


  67. Chearn,

    Part of Durant’s problem is he has a PG who thinks shoot first instead of getting the ball to the most talented offensive player in the league.


  68. rr: As you stated – it is a new world with the new CBA. I compared it to the NFL. So that said. We “could” trade our big(s) in a Hershal Walker type deal (google the deal if you are not an NFL historian in addition to your NBA talents). Picks, younger up and comers, and expiring contracts. Popular no – but “might” be the right move. The Lakers will always sell tickets. It’s a place to be seen with your SmartPhone, your expensive clothes, and your rich friends. Oh + the basketball isn’t bad either : )


  69. Dare I say Pop is getting outcoached he hasn’t found a way to get Parker going for 3 games now.


  70. FB&G: Tomorrow is Game 5 Heat V Celts. Now look – the Lakers/Celtics rivalry is supposed to be second only to Yankees/Red Sox. Now I think it is pretty safe to say that Red Sox fans – never under any circumstances root for the Yankees and vice versa. So I do not want to hear about how much you hate LeBronze (I do too) or that Punk Wade (he is) or how well coached the Celtics are (they are) or how well they play as a team (they do). But they are the Celtics ! A Laker fan rooting for the Celtics is just not right ! Don’t do it !!


  71. I have no idea why bloggers even talk about amnestying Kobe. Forget the economics we are talking about – the problem is that Kobe brings in over $30M to the Buss family each year and he also results in lots of talk around the NBA and media. You simply don’t get rid of that – regardless the game economics. To even bring it up is silly talk.

    Trying to hammer out any trade scenarios without looking at the 14/15 salary structure is also not realistic. We may incur the dreaded double tax for a year, but we will surely be in a position to be under the luxury tax the following year. That is simply a given for any family owned enterprise. Even Mark Cuban or Paul Allen can’t avoid those facts of the new CBA. We will simply have to spend a little time under the cap.

    Since that is the fact of life today, it should color our ideas on how to go about getting there. Either all our contracts have to end in one year, after which we will simply disintegrate, or we will go young earlier and be building at that time.

    My guess is that we try to put our major contracts ending in one year and go over the cliff the next year – possibly keeping Bynum to make us somewhat presentable to the general public. This gives us not only a possibility for Kobe to get another ring, but it gives the FO another couple of years to lay the groundwork for a different way of competing in the new NBA.


  72. Incidentally,
    When a player gets to be 35 the way their contract is calculated changes so that teams cannot simply extend that player for ‘x’ years at less money. Keep that in mind when talking about Pau and Kobe.

    The new CBA was targeted directly at the Lakers, but I suspect those same small market owners – I’m talking about Bennett in OKC – may find out some of those provisions are really going to bite them much more than they anticipated. The Lakers will still have Los Angeles and the things players can invest in here, but OKC will also still be OKC. It may be a nice city, but it is still not a prime destination NBA players aspire to. Also, unlike Florida and Texas, there is state income tax.


  73. Bigcitysid is consistently truth telling. Trading Bynum for anyone other than Dwight Howard would be a mistake.


  74. Great game; I didn’t think OKC had it in them. If SA does go down, I wonder if we’ll continue to see the posts here about SA’s awe-inspiring front-office and how every bit of their success is manifest proof of how inept and foolish our FO is.

    Typical Clippers moment. Looks like Donald’s penny-pinching ways hurt them. The loss of Olshey is pretty big. This is a critical upcoming year for them; let’s see who they go after to replace Olshey.


  75. Shaq wasn’t traded for another star big the best players in return were caron butler and lamar.

    Okc will be even better next year. They hit on all their picks. Lakers are just giving theirs away.


  76. Snoop @ 80 – Ha ha, just what I was thinking. Even if the Spurs win another short-season title, it won’t be sufficient cause to trash the Lakers approach vs the Spurs. And now even that relatively modest outcome is looking less and less likely by the game.


  77. lil Pau @ 42 – “It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I see no choice but to amnesty Aaron.”


    It’s in Darius’ capable hands now …


  78. I personally hope to see Mitch trade bynum for some great pieces to make the Lakers a lot better. I don’t want to see bynum punk the lakers around next year. Trade him now while the lakers have the say in what happens to the organization. Whatever goes down, I’m sure Mitch knows what he’s doing.

    Was rooting for the spurs but looks like they peaked a bit early – now they are imploding. oh well – if okc makes it they will represent well for the West. Hope they crush the east!!

    and Kings- it’s not over til it’s over – good luck in game 4 – close it out!!!!


  79. lil Pau @ 42 – “It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I see no choice but to amnesty Aaron.”
    It’s in Darius’ capable hands now …

    In Darius we trust!:)


  80. OKC is taking over the Western Conference right in front of our eyes. Looking at these guys who are all young and hungry makes me pause for a moment.

    These “pieces” we want to trade Bynum for sure better be great. Because OKC is only going to get better.



    Who’s making decisions in front office? Big splashes seems more far fetched now but Lakers passed up a opportunity.


  82. anti Dwyer Abbott June 5, 2012 at 12:55 am


    Perfectly said.


  83. bosh will play gm 5 and thus Heat wins. 🙂
    man, i really wish we were in this conference finals to represent west. 🙁 no more lakers for now. 🙁


  84. Warren Wee Lim June 5, 2012 at 5:14 am

    For everyone who intends to “guess” what our next move is, try listening to the podcast of Jim Buss.

    Some quotables:
    “Me, personally, I haven’t seen anything except for the #1 pick, ummm, and of course they’re not gonna give that up”

    “it just happens so fast, before the draft that you really can’t tell, you know, you just have to be prepared to pull the trigger if there is something you wanna go after.”

    “I think its pretty obvious how I feel about Andrew Bynum. He’s an incredible All-Star center and you can build the future around him”

    “Phil said: Let the kid grow up, he’s still young at heart”


  85. Warren Wee Lim June 5, 2012 at 5:26 am

    Aaron from the previous post:
    “Warren Wee Lim,
    Under no circumstances do you trade the best or second best Center in the NBA (when there are only three good Centers) for an older PG who is now the 5th or 6th best PG in the league. It doesmt make sense. That is why the Lakers supposedly only offered Pau and change this past trading deadline for DWill. I mean… I can’t imagine any GM in the history of the league trading a top young Center for an older (not old) PG not named Magic Johnson. It just doesn’t and will never happen. Especially in a league saturated with young, explosive, and skilled PGs. It’s just so dumb on so many levels.”

    You are the perfect example of a sim league GM that I know a lot of. You NEVER and I mean NEVER trade your most valuable piece (not necessarily your best player) for the correct piece. Thus always leaving you with a, yes, a very valuable player, but you can’t stop wondering and complaining perpetually about how you can’t win the title.

    If we have to name names, Deron Williams IS and just happens to be the correct piece. While he is regarded as the leagues “5th or 6th” best PG on your book (not on mine), he is the piece that will take you to the promised land.

    1. AB out means Pau becomes our best interior scorer. Him being a threat on offense allows him to magnify his game on the passing aspects of the game, thereby improving our offense.

    2. AB out means Kobe is NOT obliged to throw the ball in the post. We all know, that even at age 34, Kobe is still the league’s most creative scorer. Sure he’s lost a step or two, bad knee, ankle, pinky, wrist, you name it. But Kobe gives you the most dynamic mind in scoring, dare I say better than that of MJ. He is a willing passer if the opportunity is there.

    3. AB out means you can try to get a stretch 4. Stretch 4, stretch 4, stretch 4. Spacing was a HUGE problem with our offense and Gasol in the middle w/ someone who can consistently knock down 18-footers will open up alot of things.

    4. Deron Williams/Pau Gasol pick and roll.

    5. Deron Williams carrying the Lakers beyond 2013.

    6. Deron Williams making everyone around him better, not just Kobe and Pau. A stud PG will enable you to magnify your SF and PF’s effectiveness in this regard.

    7. Andrew Bynum is a black hole. Think Zach Randolph. He doesn’t pass, he pretends not to know, but really, he just doesn’t want to. Everything he sucks in, the rest watch.

    Your move.


  86. Most of our posts center around whether or not we want Bynum. For the first time, Bynum may soon have a chance to decide whether or not he wants us. My guess is “not without some changes.”

    Could it be Shaq/Kobe in reverse? That might (or might not) lead to issues that can be worked out.

    Might Drew prefer the East Coast? or Eastern Conference? That’s another story altogether.

    When Jimmy takes Drew out to dinner, he might be asking the same questions.

    This is a team with serious chemistry problems–and Drew is one of the chemicals.


  87. Warren Wee Lim June 5, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I think its pretty obvious Bynum wants the Lakers to be his team. That is the very obvious choice #1 if you ask him.

    However, such a thing will not be so unless Kobe is traded or amnestied. Which is not gonna happen.

    So? Extend and trade.


  88. “Treylake wrote on June 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm
    Bigcitysid is consistently truth telling. Trading Bynum for anyone other than Dwight Howard would be a mistake.”

    Mostly everyone (including the Lakers) realize this. Except… Nobody is trading for Dwight Howard until they see him play basketball again. People need to see after a career changing back surgery if he is gonna be another Larry Johnson. Not enough people are realizing the injury/surgery Dwight just had and how serious it is. Much worse than any injury Bynum has had.


  89. Poll up on ESPN.

    70% voting in the poll think Bynum is not a longterm solution for the Lakers, including 66% of Californians. (Presumably the heaviest concentration of Laker fans.)


  90. Let’s pause for the Lakers and focus on the LA Kings. Again, it’s premature to celebrate with possible one more game to go. I think for the next two weeks the LA Kings are my new heroes from last seed about to grab the Stanley Cup with one more victory.

    Can Andrew Bynum, Gasol and Kobe do this feat in their remaining years? Maybe, but you have to switch Coaches from Mbrown to Darryl Sutter. huh! Yes, we need a coach who could motivate, respected and has the heart of a Champ., not a chump and a quitter in the 4th Q.


  91. @95 agree.

    Therefore Lakers have no plans to trade Andrew Bynum prior to next season, unless he or his actions demand such.

    No matter ESPN poll, Magic Johnson or Charles Barkley.


  92. Another factor wth Bynum is the coach. he has zero respect for Mike Brown. Undermied and ignored him all season. Unless Lakers had the idea of Brown being a bridge coach until 2014. No evidence so far has given us reason to believe that pairing will work.

    Lakers traded a HOFer for projects in 04. How short a memory we have. Lakers took back Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Briant Grant and a 1st rounder fo the most dominant player since Jordan at the time. Bynum is far less the playe Shaq was. It’s not that far fetched to see Bynum traded for something other than Dwight.


  93. Just a note, Pincus or Broussard or any other person writing a piece on who the Lakers should trade isn’t a report on talks. It’s them playing armchair GM. You then trying to slip that in here as a comment to be discussed isn’t any better than you thinking up the deal and then saying you’d like to see it. Hence, those comments will be deleted.