NEW YORK — Andrew Bynum ended up signing with the Pacers on Saturday, after several teams reportedly had an initial interest in his services, including the defending champs.
Miami ultimately didn’t pursue Bynum, and he landed on the team that figures to be the biggest obstacle to the Heat returning to the Finals for a fourth straight season.
Before facing the Knicks on Saturday, however, the Heat didn’t seem all that concerned with Indiana’s latest roster addition.
“I don’t know what their perspective is,” Erik Spoelstra said, when I asked him for his thoughts on the signing. “We’re just focused on us right now. I’m sure out there it makes for compelling storylines. He fits their style in terms of being big and physical in the paint, but from our standpoint that doesn’t affect us.”
The part about Bynum fitting Indiana’s style is key, and likely the reason Miami passed. The Heat need active bigs who can defend on the perimeter, either in blowing up pick and rolls or simply in rotating as a part of their defensive scheme. Bynum may have been interesting on the surface, but a big like Greg Oden who’s already in place is much more well-suited to what the Heat have historically done defensively.
That may have been at least part of the reason that LeBron James similarly didn’t seem affected by the Heat’s strongest competition adding what may or may not be a player that will ultimately fortify the roster.
“We didn’t have much of a reaction at all,” James said. “We talked about it [Saturday] morning — guys said they’d seen it and that’s it. We didn’t have a conversation about it.”