Talk about picking your poison.
If this either-or scenario eventually happens the Lakers could be making a huge mistake either way. Giving the injury-prone, immature Bynum roughly $20 million per year could backfire if he continues to struggle with leadership and health issues.
On the other hand, if Bynum leaves he could haunt the Lakers for years as the league's next dominant big man.
So, fellow Lakers fans, assume there are no trade scenarios that work out with Andrew Bynum and the team needs to either commit $100 million to him or watch him leave.
What would you do?
Me? In this scenario I would reluctantly let Andrew Bynum leave via free agency.
Bynum's Lack of Leadership
For $100 million I want a player to lead his team to the NBA title, not just put up 22 and 13 on a nightly basis. Leadership transcends the box score, and as I have previously written, Andrew Bynum is not a leader.
Bynum continues to display immaturity that is inexcusable for a seven-year NBA vet - everything from launching selfish 3-pointers to disrespecting his coach during timeouts.
Andrew Bynum will get his stats, but I do not see him as a leader who will rally and inspire his teammates to give maximum effort in pursuit of a title.
Bynum's Injury History
Over the last five seasons Andrew Bynum has missed 130 of 394 of the Lakers' regular season games - roughly one-third - due primarily to injury.
Committing $100 million to a walking injury risk leaves me very unsettled.
At 7'0" and 285 pounds and with a long list of injuries, the Lakers would be making a big gamble that Andrew Bynum will remain healthy through 2018 (gulp!), his 13th NBA season.
It is impossible to predict if a player will be injured in the future, but by looking at Andrew Bynum's past I would not be surprised if he missed significant time in the future due to injury.
But Could the Lakers Replace Bynum's Value?
Andrew Bynum is clearly the league's second best center behind Dwight Howard and at 24 years old he could become a dominant force for years to come.
So if Andrew Bynum left Los Angeles via free agency, could the Lakers somehow replace his value with other top free agent talent?
History says yes, they could.
Los Angeles has always had a knack of luring top free agents - from Shaquille O'Neal to Steve Nash - in building championship-winning teams. Letting Andrew Bynum leave as a free agent would be a huge gamble, but the Lakers are always well positioned to attract the NBA's elite players.
If the Lakers end up facing the scenario of either giving Andrew Bynum $100 million or letting him walk away, I would hesitantly let him walk, wondering the whole time if I made the right decision.
That's the problem with picking your poison - no matter which vial of venom you choose to drink, your decision could easily kill you.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- Andrew Bynum
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Los Angeles