Pacers sign free-agent center Andrew Bynum

The Indiana Pacers signed free-agent center Andrew Bynum on Saturday, the team announced.

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Andrew Bynum (USA TODAY Sports)

The acquisition of Bynum could deliver the Pacers a formidable bench presence as they try to get past the Miami Heat and reach the NBA Finals.  

After a failed partnership with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bynum was suspended and ultimately traded to the Chicago Bulls, who released the former All-Star center on Jan. 7.

There's still intrigue about Bynum's ability to overcome chronic knee problems and become something of a force again, despite an uneven performance in averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Cavaliers over 24 games. Bynum met with Pacers president Larry Bird and team officials in Indianapolis on Friday, the Indianapolis Star reported.

"We are obviously happy to have him join our team," Bird said in a news release. "He gives us added size, he is a skilled big man and he has championship experience. With the minutes he gets, he should be a valuable addition."

Bynum will join the Pacers sometime next week, the release said.

Behind All-Star center Roy Hibbert, Bynum could help give Indiana one of the biggest and deepest front lines in the league.

After averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2011-12 season, Bynum missed the following season after a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers.

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