It has been a rough couple of years for center Andrew Bynum. Prior to the 2012/13 season, the big man was shipped from the Lakers to the 76ers as a part of the four-team Dwight Howard trade. Unfortunately, knee troubles cost him the entire year and he never suited up for Philadelphia.
The Cavs then seized the opportunity to sign a potentially elite big man at a discounted rate and inked him to a two-year, incentive-laden deal. Bynum conceded early in the season that his knees were still holding him back and, for one reason or another, he wanted out of Cleveland. He wrote his ticket out by shooting every time he touched the ball in practice regardless of where he was on the floor. Apparently unimpressed by his confident approach to offense and his long-distance range, the Cavs packaged his contract and draft picks to acquire Luol Deng from the Bulls. The Bulls dropped him, the Pacers picked him up, and he played in a grand total of two games for Indiana.
This isn’t quite how we all envisioned things working out for the former No. 10 overall pick. Of course, while the last couple of years have raised major concerns about Bynum’s health and general attitude, it’ll be hard for teams to overlook the potential upside in signing him. After all, he’s only a few years removed from his 2011/12 campaign where he averaged career highs in points (18.7) and rebounds (11.8) on his way to his first career All-Star nomination.
Thanks to his physical condition and reputation, one has to imagine that Bynum can be had for the minimum salary. And, even though he might not be the consummate teammate, we’d be surprised if someone wasn’t willing to roll the dice on him. Earlier this month, the Clippers reportedly auditioned the big man while also scoping out Andray Blatche and Greg Oden in the same week. Agent David Lee said in July that the Knicks could also have interest in his client while Bynum himself would like to reunite with the Lakers. One has to wonder whether the Doc Rivers-led Clippers would want to chance tinkering with locker room chemistry. Same goes for Phil Jackson in New York who waived fellow former pupil Lamar Odom after his conduct was apparently not up to par.
Bynum is also thinking about undergoing German Regenokine therapy on his knees which would cost him the entire 2014/15 season, so he might not sign with anyone for the upcoming season. And, if Bynum decides to never return at all, he won’t be hurting for cash as he has earned nearly $80MM over the course of his career.