Despite coming up empty during their playoff run, the Los Angeles Lakers knew they had a few obstacles to overcome throughout a lockout shortened NBA season to even reach the playoffs. They had a new coach who preached defense and no longer ran the triangle offense, they had a bench that was unable to contribute as much as necessary, and they had to overcome the emotions from a failed trade that had a few players heading out the door, only to have some be pulled back in.
Now that the 2011-2012 season is in the rear view mirror, it's time to focus on the future. In an effort to begin preparations for next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly exercised their $16.1 million option to bring back Andrew Bynum for the 2012-2013 NBA season.
Bynum certainly delivered on the court when called upon - making the option a fairly easy choice from a performance stand point. For the first time in his career he was named a Western Conference All-Star and an All-NBA Second Team selection. He averaged career highs in points (18.7) and rebound (11.8) per contest. But when looking at his attitude, I see a player who has a lot of growing up to do. Perhaps the Lakers picked up the option only to make sure that if they do have to deal Bynum, they will at least get something in return; instead of seeing him leave as a free agent.
Jim Buss' Opinion
According to Buss, "He [Bynum] is an incredible All-Star center, and you can build the future around him." While I value Buss' opinion, I don't wholeheartedly agree with him. Sure you lose Kobe Bryant sometime in the future to retirement, but Bynum's selfishness won't allow a team to cohesively form around him. Leaders don't pout and sit apart from their team when things aren't going right; they stand by their teammates and rally them. Perhaps Bynum will find his maturity soon seeing as that he is 24 years old. (He's been in the league since he was 18 but that doesn't automatically make him mature - although it should have helped.)
It has been reported that Bynum and his agent expect there to be some talks of a long-term deal between the Lakers and Bynum this offseason. After hearing what Buss had to say regarding Bynum, I think it's safe to say that he will be around for quite some time. I would hope the Lakers don't pour too much money into Bynum as to suffocate the payroll and not allow for the Lakers to add the necessary players to get younger and more athletic.
Food for thought: Did the Lakers do right by Andrew Bynum exercising their option for 2012-2013 or would you have liked to see them go in a different direction? Now that he's signed for next season, do you see him being traded at some point or will he be in L.A. beyond 2012-2013?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
ESPN.com. Sources: L.A. picks up Bynum option. NBA 2012.
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