It was almost exactly this time last year when I wrote the Los Angeles Lakers should trade Andrew Bynum. The only thing different now is I'm not the only one saying it.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told NBA.com on Monday he's considering shaking up the roster thanks to some "red flags" he sees, mainly losses at home.
This comes following Sunday's loss to the Boston Celtics at the Staples Center, the same place where the Miami Heat handed them a butt-whoopin' on Christmas.
Questioning his team's might, Kupchak said: "I just don't think that our talent level is playing as well as they can play. We have an incredibly high payroll and we do that because we have players that normally produce at a high level. And I'm not sure I see that now."
Magic Johnson, the former Lakers great who recently sold his shares in the franchise, commented today the team "has to do something."
So, what does this have to do with Bynum, you ask? The same damn thing I was saying a year ago.
The Lakers, who are 33-15 but have lost four of their last seven, can't dedicate so much money to a player who contributes so little.
Bynum, the seven-foot center out of New Jersey, is making $13.8 million this year, which makes him the 28th-highest paid player in the league. He's scheduled to earn $15.2 million next season.
For what? To play half-seasons in which he averages under 30 minutes per game and puts up 13 points and eight rebounds? This is the guy you pay just a few million less a year than Pau Gasol?
At what point do the Lakers say enough? If Bynum can't stay healthy in his early 20s—he's 23 and has missed 41 percent (120) of his team's last 294 games—what reason is there to belief he'll be durable closer to 30?
And if the Lakers won the championship last season with Bynum averaging just 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in the playoffs, how much do they really need him?
Kobe Bryant isn't going anywhere, nor is Gasol. Lamar Odom is playing great and provides a level of versatility that's a bargain at $8 million plus a year. Derek Fisher is a staple. After these four, things start to get a little dicey.
There's no doubt Ron Artest will show up come May, but he's 31 and owed almost $22 million over the next three seasons. Luke Walton—the reason I still think I can make the league—is owed $11.8 million over the next two. Who the hell wants him?
Shannon Brown will surely test free agency if he doesn't receive an extension.
So, really, what do the Lakers even have to trade besides Bynum? Not much.
Kupchak and Magic have it right when they say the Lakers need to make a move. They need to abandon the unrealistic hope Bynum is their "center of the future" and make the changes necessary to put this team back in the driver's seat.
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