There was never a question whether or not the Lakers would pick up their $16.1 million option on Andrew Bynum. He was a lock to stay.
The question has always been what is next?
The Lakers made it official Monday that they picked up Bynum’s option for next season. It’s not the smart move, it was the only move. You don’t let young All-Star centers walk for nothing.
But now what?
Bynum can be a free agent next summer. The Lakers need to either convince Bynum to stay — he says he wants to, but they need to make sure he knows he is the post-Kobe heart of the franchise. Which leads to the question of if you want to do that, he is temperamental and injury prone. Is he really the future anchor.
The Lakers also can trade him. They would for Dwight Howard, but that’s the long shot. The Lakers need to shake up their roster and the only way to do it is to trade Bynum or trade Pau Gasol, and the Lakers will listen to offers for both. Gasol is the more likely to be moved, but Bynum could draw more in return.
So now we’re through the part we knew would happen, Bynum is staying a Laker next season.
Now it gets interesting.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.