The Lakers still have three months to officially exercise their team option on Andrew Bynum for next season, but they've already made their decision. GM Mitch Kupchak confirmed to Mike Breshanan of the Los Angeles Times that the team will pick up Bynum's $16.1MM option for 2012/13.
"He's the starting center on the West All-Star team. Why wouldn't we do everything we could to keep him here?" Kupchak said. "We're ecstatic to have him on the team."
Decisions on options are due by June 30th, so the Lakers have plenty of time to make the move official. Assuming the two sides don't agree on an extension before the end of Bynum's current contract, he would be eligible for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2013. With Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol set to make nearly $50MM combined in 2013/14, Bynum's contract situation will be one worth keeping an eye on next year.