Lakers Trade Rumors: Los Angeles Can't Afford to Part Ways with Andrew Bynum
And although he's been a part of the Dwight Howard trade discussion, the Lakers have a golden opportunity to keep their core unit intact.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Bynum has shown no inclination to agree to an immediate extension if sent to Orlando as part of a Dwight Howard package, sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 8, 2012
That however, is not the main concern regarding Bynum's potential move out of L.A. As also reported by Wojnarowski:
Dallas and Cleveland are among teams with cap space that would interest Bynum in 2013 as a free agent, sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 8, 2012
The last thing the Lakers need is to miss out on Dwight Howard and then not retain Bynum only to see him possibly sign with the Dallas Mavericks.
Obviously the Cavaliers would be much less of a threatening move, but nonetheless, Los Angeles needs Bynum if its beloved Lakers are to make another run at the NBA Finals. Here, let's check out some reasons why L.A. can't let Bynum play anywhere else.
Addition of Nash
Earlier this week the Los Angeles Lakers added point guard Steve Nash, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. That being said, just imagine how much more productive Bynum will be with Nash running the point in L.A.
Yes, Howard would also likely improve his game but sticking with who they currently have isn't a bad idea for the Lakers either. Nash was arguably the biggest get of the NBA's offseason and although he's 38-years-old, L.A.'s overall talent will elongate his career.
As for Bynum, he is coming off his best season in the pros after averaging 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and logging 35.2 minutes per game. The addition of Nash would only inflate these numbers and allow Bynum to develop his entire skill set to the next level.
Already a much better free-throw shooter than Howard, Bynum suits the Lakers' offense better as well.
One thing about trading away Andrew Bynum would at least mean something in return for Los Angeles. But letting Bynum test the free agent market would be a huge loss for the Lakers, and potentially work even more against them.
As mentioned above, the Dallas Mavericks are a team of potential interest to Bynum. Considering that the Mavs have been one of the more consistent Western Conference teams at making the postseason, L.A. would be at a major disadvantage without Bynum.
Already having to deal with the rising cross-town rival Clippers, the Lakers would not have that inside presence to make a strong playoff run. Bynum is also only 24-years-old, so there's plenty of physical basketball left in him.
Los Angeles just needs to keep him aboard because Bynum will lengthen the careers of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.
What should the Lakers do with Bynum?
Provided that the Lakers keep Bynum and sustain success for the immediate future, that would also position Los Angeles better for the offseason later on.
If anything, the Lakers must try out and see how Bynum works with Nash orchestrating the offense. Chances are it will work solely because Nash is just that good. With the increased odds of enjoying inflated numbers, Bynum's status as a player will certainly rise.
To that end, if he wants out for some reason thereafter, the Lakers would then simply have more leverage regarding trades. Whether it's getting a veteran stud center or starting over via the NBA draft, Los Angeles has to keep Bynum from hitting free agency.
The man is just too good to let go and considering his age and production thus far, Bynum has the potential to be just as good as Howard anyway. And since last season was even more impressive than 2010-11, we can only expect more from Bynum in 2012-13.
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