NBA Trade Rumors: Andrew Bynum Would Make Powerhouse Pairing with Kyrie Irving
As first reported by ESPN.com's Ric Bucher, the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers have been working on the framework of a deal that would send disgruntled center Dwight Howard to Los Angeles, center Andrew Bynum to Cleveland and a ton of assets to Orlando.
Some thought that Bynum, who has played for the Lakers the past seven seasons, would balk at moving from the glamour of Los Angeles to the frigid winters of Cleveland.
Well according to Fox Sports' Sam Amico, the 24-year-old center is more than amenable to a change in scenery. In fact, he loves the idea.
For starters, Bynum is supposedly sick of playing a secondary role in Los Angeles and wants an opportunity be a team's star.
Also, several sources indicated Bynum may be tired of playing the role of third wheel behind Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol with the Lakers – and perhaps may now even be the fourth option following the Lakers' acquisition of Steve Nash (from the Suns).
Bynum, 24, has won two championships with the Lakers and seemingly prefers to play somewhere "where he's one of the top two reasons a team wins or loses a ring," said one source close to him.
But the main reason why Cleveland in particular appeals to Bynum is his respect for Cavs coach Byron Scott and his "love" of Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving's game:
Andrew Bynum loves Cavs coach Byron Scott and loves PG Kyrie Irving, says source close to him. Link to my story ... sulia.com/c/basketball/f…
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 18, 2012
Chris Chambers/Getty Images
If Howard changes his mind on an extension with the Lakers, something his agent says won't happen (per ESPN), the Cavaliers could go from having the No. 1 pick to a playoff team in the span of a year.
Bringing in Bynum would instantly give the Cavs one of the game's 15 best players and the best under-25 center in the world. Bynum averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game last season and showed that he could stay healthy for the first time in his career.
Pairing Bynum with Irving, a natural distributor who had one of the best seasons for a rookie point guard in NBA history, can only help improve the center's gaudy numbers.
Bynum spent last season getting dishes from the Derek Fisher/Ramon Sessions pu pu platter and fighting for last-minute touches with Kobe Bryant. In Cleveland, Bynum would be a part of a two-headed clutch monster that would even make the league's best teams nervous.
As a rookie, Irving led the NBA last season with 53.8 clutch points per 48 minutes, according to 82games.com. Bynum, in far fewer opportunities, seemingly took advantage of every one, shooting 76.1 percent in crunch time.
Will Andrew Bynum end up in Cleveland?
If those stats hold up, let's just say teams won't look forward to an Irving-Bynum pick-and-roll with less than five minutes left.
All of the positives to this pairing go without mentioning No. 4 pick Dion Waiters, who wouldn't be involved in acquiring Bynum and has drawn Dwyane Wade comparisons.
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, this whole deal is contingent on Howard making a definitive decision to extend with the Lakers. And let's just say Dwight isn't exactly the most rock-solid decision maker.
But if the Cavs can somehow pull off this caper, they'll have three elite building blocks just 24 months after LeBron left the franchise for dead.
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