Well, that couldn’t have gone much worse.
Let’s take a look back at the Andrew Bynum era in Indiana: 36 minutes over the course of two games, scoring 23 points and pulling down 19 rebounds during what amounted to two little tests in the regular season. Oh, and he used a lot of training room ice. Spent some time in the anti-gravity treadmill. That’s basically all of it.
Andrew Bynum’s time in Indiana is done, the team announced Wednesday — he will miss the remainder of the playoffs and not be with the team.
“We want to thank Andrew and our medical staff for trying to get the issues with his knee resolved,” Pacers President Larry Bird said in a released statement. “We wish him the best in the future.”
The Pacers signed him as a free agent Feb. 1 for $1 million. Despite Bird’s public protestations, this was really a signing designed to keep Bynum away from the Heat or another team that might use him against the Pacers in the playoffs (at the time of the signing that was a concern). If the Pacers got anything out of Bynum, great, but when he was signed the guys in the locker room shrugged.
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To be fair Bynum is not at fault for the collapse we have seen in Indiana — he was barely around the team, he didn’t change the chemistry, he was not taken seriously enough to damage chemistry. It’s not Bynum’s fault that somehow Roy Hibbert has morphed into a poor man’s Kendrick Perkins on the court. (The Danny Granger for Evan Turner move by Bird had a bigger impact in the locker room and on the court.)
Bynum’s NBA future going forward is largely nonexistent. He has serious knee issues and doesn’t like to play through pain in them. His chances in Cleveland and Indiana largely went poorly — he can do some things still on the court but he can’t really get and stay on the court.
I like Bynum, he’s smart and honest. He’s got a diversity of interests in his life, he is curious and likes to explore. That makes for an interesting person. However, it doesn’t really make for a great NBA player — that requires a singular focus that is just not in Bynum’s nature.
Because he’s big and skilled some team may give him a small, non-guaranteed contract. Maybe a training camp invite. But the days of investing in Bynum are gone, and soon he will be free to bowl when he wants, to flamenco dance his way across Europe without being bothered by nagging NBA responsibilities and fans.