Andrew Bynum’s NBA career might have already ended.
Chronic knee problems have rendered him unplayable. A member of four teams (76ers, Cavaliers Bulls and Pacers) the last two seasons, Bynum has played just 26 games. And he can be a real nuisance.
But he’s still a 26-year-old 7-footer with All-Star experience. Teams will look for reasons to justify signing him. They might not find enough, but they’ll look.
The Knicks, with Phil Jackson and little flexibility to pursue stars in their prime, are the most obvious suitor. They sought his services during the season – before hiring Jackson, but while consulting him on their moves in case he took the job.
If New York is still interested in Bynum, he might sign there. That’s not clear.
What is clear: Bynum would enjoy playing for the Lakers, with whom he had his initial NBA success.
- Paparazzo: “Where are you hoping to land?”
- Bynum: “I don’t know.” (inaudible)
- Paparazzo: “Your home is in L.A. Would you like to come back to L.A. or what?”
- Bynum: “That would be great. Come back home.”
- Paparazzo: “Clippers or Lakes?”
- Bynum: “Lakers”
- Paparazzo: “You’d rather be with the Lakers?”
- Bynum: “Yup.”
Those are some leading questions, somewhat diminishing the value of Bynum’s answers.
But many free agents refuse to go on the record at all about preferred destinations. That Bynum said he wants to play for the Lakers, even when asked specifically about them, says something. How his face lights up when answering that question – he was mostly and appropriately dismissive of the paparazzo – says a little more.
Of course, the Lakers have a large say in this. They reportedly discussed trading for Bynum during the season, but that was to waive him and get financial relief. Signing him to play is a whole other story.
The Lakers are in a state of flux, and choosing a coach is a bigger priority. But if the new coach believes Bynum fits, the Lakers should take a look. It probably ends with them passing, but Bynum is too young and talented to fall completely off the radar.