Los Angeles Lakers: 10 Reasons L.A. Should Trade Andrew "Big Baby" Bynum Now!

Joe VecchioContributor IFebruary 10, 2011

Los Angeles Lakers: 10 Reasons L.A. Should Trade Andrew "Big Baby" Bynum Now!

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    Andrew Bynum & Derek FisherHarry How/Getty Images

     

    THE VECCHIO FACTOR SAYS...

    On February 4th, in my Bleacher Report article, "Los Angeles Lakers: Will Phil Jackson & Kobe Bryant Author Another 3-Peat?" I suggested trading Andrew Bynum AND Shannon Brown for Carmelo Anthony AND Ty Lawson.  As far as I know, no one has suggested this trade package; they have all been focused on Bynum for Carmelo only.

    The following slide show presentation gives 10 reasons why the Los Angeles Lakers should trade Andrew Bynum NOW before their window of opportunity closes in approximately 2 weeks, on February 24th, when the NBA trade deadline officially ends.

    Using Bynum as a viable trade piece with Denver will enable the Lakers to re-stock their franchise with a young, superstar player like Carmelo Anthony, who could eventually replace Kobe Bryant.

    And if they use "Big Baby" Bynum as trade bait NOW, along with Shannon Brown, I believe it's possible for the Lakers to not only get a superstar in Carmelo, but also the much needed, young, quick, penetrating point guard in Ty Lawson, something they have sorely lacked since Magic Johnson retired..

Reason # 1: Injury Prone

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Up until this year, Andrew Bynum has played in 283 games for the Lakers, an average of 56 games per season. 

    So far, in the 2010-11 season, he has played in 27 out of the 52 games played.  In the 27 dames he has played in this year, the Lakers are 18-9.  In the 25 games without him, the Laker record is 18-7.

    Only one year, 2006-07, did he play in all 82 regular season games. 

    While not as bad as Greg Oden injury-wise, Bynum's player availability profile, at best, can be described as "injury prone," based on his average games played per season.  

Reason # 2: Career Stats

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Since joining the Lakers in 2005-06, Andrew Bynum has averaged 23.7 minutes, 6,7 rebounds, and 10.4 points per game during his 5 regular seasons up until this year, 2010-11.

    In his playoff career, he has averaged 19.6 minutes, 5.2 rebounds, and 7 points per game, statistics well below his regular season career averages.

    The question is, for the 13.8 mil the Lakers are paying him this year, 14.9 mil due next year, and a team option for 16.1 mil in 2012, are his underachieving, mediocre, career production stats worth the "star" money they are paying him? 

Reason # 3: Work Ethic

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Bynum's career stat totals of 10.4 point per game and 6.7 rebounds per game are reduced when you average in his career playoff stats of 7 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game, hardly numbers that say he is an improving, emerging impact player.

    Playing with someone like Kobe Bryant, who is constantly working hard to improve his game even at his superstar level, should be an solid example for Bynum to follow.

    Further, with his size, strength, and a "work ethic" example like Kobe's for him to witness everyday, one  would think he would want to show a marked increase in his stat totals each year, unless he does not have the proper mind-set, desire, and "work ethic" necessary to be the NBA's premier center..

    By all accounts, he stopped working with Kareem Abdul Jabbar a couple of years ago, and is not seen as someone who works overtime to improve his game.  Phil Jackson has also been on record questioning his work ethic.

    Could it be that the exorbitant, premature, extension money the Lakers gave him in 2008 put him in a comfort zone, or better yet, a "lazy" zone?

Reason # 4: Skill Level

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Like his former mentor, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Andrew Bynum has the requisite size to be a "centerpiece" NBA center.  However, a couple of years ago, Bynum decided that he didn't need Kareem's tutelage anymore. 

    Size alone is not enough to be a dominant NBA center.  You also need skills!  Without a high skill level, playing the post can be a frustrating experience.  Ask Chuck Nevitt, Shawn Bradley, Mark Eaton, and Georghe Muresan, who were huge bodies, but arguably "skill-less!".

    Without developing the necessary skill level, e.g., Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Hakeem Olajuwon, Andrew Bogut, Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, and an earlier Shaquille O'Neal, it's difficult to exert dominance over other NBA centers.

    At this stage of his career, in his 6th year, and with 7 ft plus size, many feel that Andrew Bynum has under-achieved, and has yet to show that his skill level is of high enough value to be considered as one of the NBA's most dominant centers.

Reason # 5: Ego & Attitude

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Perhaps one of the best examples of a superstar player that has exhibited a "selfless" ego, and a great attitude throughout his NBA career, is Tim Duncan.

    A 4-time NBA champion, Duncan has been the ultimate team player, someone who Andrew Bynum would do well to emulate.

    A perennial All-Star, he has played hard, and improved his game consistently during his productive championship years with the Spurs.

    Conversely, Andrew Bynum has not improved that much in 6 injury-ridden years with the Lakers, and many feel his ego and lackadaisical attitude have gotten in his way. 

    Some say, when you are given "superstar money" before being a superstar, your head swells and you start believing you're worth the big bucks you're getting.

    In Bynum's case, it has be argued that he feels as if he's "arrived" since he's a starter on the 2-time, defending, NBA champion Lakers, and he doesn't have much more to prove.

Reason # 6: Intangibles

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Probably the best player who defines the meaning of intangibles as an NBA player, is Lamar Odom, a team mate of Andrew Bynum, someone who has paid his dues, and fills up the box score most every night, but makes half of what Bynum makes. 

    Yes, because of his unique skills, Laker fans have sometimes been frustrated with Odom over the years, but there is no denying his skill capabilities have blossomed this year as an all-around NBA player.

    He exhibits rare abilities for a 6' 10" player, but he also possesses the intangibles of professionalism, toughness, heart, and accountability, as in the loss to the Spurs recently when he took the blame for not boxing out Antonio McDyess.

    As an observation, when compared to Odom, Kobe, Pau Gasol, or Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum has not shown the intangible qualities of toughness, heart, accountability, and professionalism, needed to be considered as a viable team player, and a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. 

Reason # 7: Immaturity & Commitment

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    If you've ever listened to an Andrew Bynum interview, he sounds immature, especially when describing his ongoing injury status. 

    Instead of saying, I'm 100% ready to play, even though he's not, e.g., Kobe Bryant, in a blase' way, he makes excuses such as saying he's 75 % or he's "day to day." 

    at the Playboy mansion.  He was supposed to be "rehabbing" his surgically repaired knee. 

    Some re-hab!

    Enough said about his IMMATURITY & COMMITMENT.

Reason # 8: ROI (Return On Investment)

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    Dr. Jerry BussVince Bucci/Getty Images

    Andrew Bynum is in the next to last guaranteed year of his 4 year extension, signed in October, 2008, for 57.4 million. 

    According to the Los Angeles Times, he makes 13.8 million this year and 14.9 million next year. The fourth year is a team option for 16.1 million in 2012-13. 

    Based on his 5 year regular season playing time average of 23.7 minutes per game, his PPG of 10.4, and his rebounds per game of 6.7, his ROI has not been worth the money he's been paid. 

    Even worse are his 4 year playoff playoff averages.  In 52 games he has averaged 19.6 minutes per game, 7 PPG, and 5.2 rebounds per game.

    Yes, his injuries have played a part in these averages, but Laker management, i.e., Dr. Jerry Buss, must ask whether he's worth the money going forward even though the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, if ratified by the owners and the player's union, is predicted to reduce player salaries.

    All things being equal, the Los Angeles Lakers are a business, and Andrew Bynum is being paid a "20-10" player's salary.

    Since he hasn't produced up to expectations, he has earned a sub-ROI rating to date, and I don't believe the Lakers would exercise their option for a fourth year @ 16.1 million based on Bynum's mediocre numbers, as well as his propensity for getting injured.

Reason # 9: Excellent Trade Bait

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    With Andrew Bynum fairly healthy at last, and the uncertainty of if and/or when he will get injured again, THE VECCHIO FACTOR believes NOW is a great opportunity, with Bynum as excellent trade bait, to kill two birds with one and a half stones.

    I admit, Bynum & Brown for Anthony & Lawson will, in some eyes, not look appealing.  The NBA is, after all, a "Big Man's" league, and giving up a 7 footer might be hard to swallow for LA fans. 

    But, sooner or later, the Lakers MUST re-tool and obtain a superstar or two to replace Kobe Bryant. 

    Kobe's good buddy, Carmelo Anthony, definitely fills that need. 

    However, a key factor, which I say is a MUST to complete this trade, is to include Ty Lawson in the trade.  Without him, I don't make the deal!

    Lawson would fill a 20 year Laker hole at the point guard position, and with Phil Jackson retiring, the likelihood of the Triangle offense continuing as LA's primary offensive system is greatly reduced. 

    Lawson & Carmelo could be the catalysts for a "Return to Showtime," especially if Magic's good friend, Byron Scott, can get out of his contract with Cleveland and return to LA as the Laker coach, replacing Phil Jackson next year.

Reason # 10: Timing

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    They say in life, "timing is everything."  Well, where the Lakers are concerned, the timing is NOW!

    You can count the NBA;s true superstars on two hands, and Carmelo Anthony is certainly one of them. 

    He is one of the very few NBA players who can 'score the ball' with ease, which would take pressure off Kobe Bryant to carry the bulk of the Lakers' scoring load.

    If the Lakers don't pursue this deal for Carmelo hard, and pull the trigger, they must wait until 2012 to bid on Dwight Howard, with no guarantee to get him.

    This would mean there would be no superstar, perimeter, "2-3" player available, since Kevin Durant is locked up for another 4 years, to replace an aging Kobe Bryant.

    Of course, trading Bynum is a gamble, but his stats are those of an underachieving big man, and while keeping him allows LA to match up with Boston, it doesn't bode well against a transition, fast-paced team like Miami. 

    Since Dr. Buss is a gambler, at least in poker he is, why not trade him now, and begin to secure the Lakers' future with a young SUPERSTAR?

    And Bynum's salary is not that much different from Carmelo's.

    Bottom line, players like Carmelo Anthony come along once every 10-15 years.  Roll the dice, raise the bet, make the deal for Carmelo, but ONLY with Ty Lawson included in the trade!

    JOE VECCHIO

    THE VECCHIO FACTOR