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.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.