According to Andrew Bynum's agent, the Los Angeles Lakers have not initiated formal discussions about a contract extension. In addition, the agent has stated that the team has not inquired about Bynum's openness to signing an extension with another team. This suggests that trade rumors may be just a lot of talk. Of course, this is an agent talking. Their job is to serve their client and negotiate the best deal. This may include particular statements to the media.
The elephant in the room
Will the Lakers attempt to re-sign Bynum? The fan base knows why this is complicated. His name is Dwight Howard. Negotiating with Bynum may be a disingenuous exercise if the Lakers are going to turn around and trade him. In addition, the Lakers may need Bynum to cooperate if they are going to work out a deal for Howard. If Howard is going to come to the Lakers, Bynum might need to sign an extension with the Orlando Magic or some other team. Therefore, negotiating an extension may send a very mixed message.
Posturing and rhetoric
As a fan, it is hard to cut through the rhetoric and know what should be believed. Again, the team and the agent are going to play their cards as strategically as possible. If the believe the rumors, the Lakers have been working the phones and trying to work out a deal for Dwight Howard. If you read the comments of Andrew's agent, no such negotiations have been occurring. Where is the truth? Of course, we are assuming that the Lakers definitely want to re-sign Bynum. What if there is a different long-term plan?
A variety of risks
The Lakers do have some time. Bynum is under contract for next season, and they could theoretically wait until next summer. The problem is that the contract situation may be a distraction from the first day of the season until the last day of the playoffs. In between, there may be all sorts of stories, discussions and rumors that are not related to what is happening on the floor. If the Lakers wait, Bynum might walk away. Granted, Bynum may want to walk away regardless of when negotiations begin.
This is why being a GM is difficult.
The author grew up in Seattle and now lives in Los Angeles, where he enjoys the rivalry between the Lakers and the Clippers, and all the drama that goes with being in the Southland. You can follow him on Twitter @tpheifer.
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