The 2011-12 NBA season turned out to be a breakout year for Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers as he became an All-Star starter for the Western Conference and started to be recognized as one of the best centers in the league. Along with the distinction of being an elite center and finally able to stay injury-free for the first time in his seven-year career, Bynum gave the Lakers faithful hope for the future after the Kobe Bryant era in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, Bynum’s improved play has come with a cost as with the up-and-comer center becoming more vocal and more of a distraction to team. Bynum’s antics over the course of the season and throughout the NBA playoffs became progressively worse.
According to Sam Amick of SI.com, Bynum’s off the court problems with the team has been described by a source close to the Lakers simply saying:
“He’s getting worse,” the source said.
Obviously, this isn’t a good sign moving forward for the Lakers. With Bynum having a team option of $16.1 million, the Lakers must make a decision by June 30 about whether or not they want to retain him.
After the controversial comments about whether or not he’ll sign an extension with the Lakers claiming that he’ll play anywhere and that it really doesn’t matter, it is uncertain if Bynum truly wants to continue his career with the Lakers from here on out.
During this past regular season, the Lakers’ front office let it be known that Bynum’s option will be exercised. With that being said, the All-Star center should be with the team of at least one more season if they don’t agree upon a long-term deal.
Despite the fact that the Lakers has indicated that they plan on keeping Bynum in L.A. long-term, the 24-year-old’s actions and comments to the media may have changed to the team’s mindset moving forward.
An option the Lakers could explore is retaining Bynum for next season and pursuing a trade to acquire the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard. It is uncertain at this point in time whether or not Howard intends to stay in Orlando past this season after the firing of head coach Stan Van Gundy, but if the Lakers can swing a sign-and-trade deal for Deron Williams, a trade for Howard might be in the cards with the superstar center likely to change his stance on being dealt to Los Angeles.