After another turn of events in the Dwight Howard trade fiasco, Andrew Bynum’s future still remains up in the air as he may not be in purple and gold at the start of the 2012-13 NBA season.
Preliminary talks on a contract extension with the All-Star center’s agent, David Lee, reportedly began on Wednesday. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and Lee started discussions on a potential long-term deal for Bynum, but nothing is imminent in terms of Bynum signing on the dotted line to stay in Los Angeles after next season.
Over the last month or so, talk of Bynum having a list of preferred trade destinations and teams he’d sign with long-term has begun to circulate. Even though there’s rumored to be a supposed list, Bynum’s agent claims there’s nothing of the sort according to ESPN.com:
“Lee also denied that Bynum had a list of preferred destinations, saying he and Bynum chuckled when they read reports while on vacation in Alaska last week indicating he already had made such decisions.”
This comes as no surprise with all the speculation surrounding Howard and Bynum over the summer. Despite no list being complied by Bynum, a trade still seems to be a distinct possibility with Bynum potentially landing with the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers or Orlando Magic.
Recent reports by ESPN.com have indicated that Bynum has no intention of signing a contract extension with any other team outside of the Lakers this summer. This basically means that any team that acquires Bynum must wait until after next season to sign him long-term. Bynum will be an unrestricted free agent at that time with every team in the league with cap space and need of an All-Star caliber big man sending him offers.
Unfortunately, teams interested in acquiring Bynum like the Cavs, Magic and Rockets may continue to be hesitant on pulling the trigger on a three-way blockbuster trade that would send the up-and-coming center to their city. With no guarantees or assurances to keep Bynum long-term, this trade will be difficult to pull off without teams willing to take the gamble on the Lakers center.
Ultimately, the Lakers are in the best position of any team involved in a potential deal to land Howard. Even if the deal falls through to bring Howard to L.A., the Lakers can simply turn around and sign Bynum long-term. It is basically a win-win situation for Los Angeles, as one way or another they’ll end up with a dominant center on the books long-term.