COMMENTARY | Former Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Andrew Bynum continues to receive constant treatment for his ailing right knee. The former first round pick that helped the franchise win its last two titles in 2009 and 2010 has dealt with injuries that caused him to miss a significant amount of games over the course of his six-year career. At this point, it's almost like clockwork that he has some sort of offseason procedure on his knees.
Fortunately for fans in Los Angeles, it's not the Lakers' problem any longer.
Though he will turn 25 just before the 2012-2013 season begins, Bynum has had the injury history of a player much older. That all leads to the question:
Did the Lakers manage to sell high on Bynum in the trade for Dwight Howard?
Given the fact that Bynum missed games in each of the last five seasons at such a young age, mostly due to the injury (he also missed several games due to suspension), it's not out of the question to believe that his chances of playing a full 82-game season ever again are slim.
During the summer, he underwent the same knee procedure that Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez and Grant Hill had in Germany. Though the procedure is thought to work wonders on patients,, Bynum is clearly much younger than any of the aforementioned athletes and it's a concern that he has to go to those lengths to get healthy.
He's played in 392 NBA games over the course of his career, and it's reasonable to assume that despite his steady improvement on the court, he may very well see less time on it in the coming years. The Philadelphia 76ers knew what they were getting with Bynum -- a player who's going into the prime of his career after putting up career bests of 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in a shortened 66-game season. But they were also aware of his history with knee injuries. The 76ers are hoping that the reward is worth the risk.
But it's possible that the Lakers got the best years of Bynum and could get the same from Howard. Though Howard has a back injury of his own, it's not a chronic ailment like Bynum's. There are no guarantees about the health of either player in the future, but Howard should be the healthier of the two in the second half of their careers.
If Bynum didn't have a stellar year in a shortened season, perhaps the very same trade for Howard would have also cost the team another major component like Pau Gasol. At that point, it could be argued that the Lakers would have failed to improve, even with the addition of Steve Nash.
The Lakers may have gotten out of the business of Bynum at just the right time.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers as a Southern California-based sports journalist, editor, and blogger. You can read him on SB Nation and Examiner.com. He is also the Editor and Founder of Sports Out West.
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