Mike Bresnahan of the Times tweeted on Monday:
The Lakers have officially picked up Andrew Bynum's $16.1-million option, The Times has learned.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) June 4, 2012
The $16.1 million option ensures that Bynum will stay in Los Angeles for at least one more year after a tumultuous season that saw the Lakers fall in the Western Conference semifinals to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Bynum averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks this season but dipped a bit in the postseason—particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
Now, the Lakers must decide what they want to do with Pau Gasol, who was criticized for being soft once again. They also have other decisions to make in their attempt to field a championship-caliber team as Kobe Bryant gets closer to the end of his career.
Bynum will have to step up for the Lakers when Bryant finally retires.
Picking up his option for one more year was predictable, but what he does next season may determine if the Lakers decide to keep him around. While the talent is there, his character on the court has been questioned time and time again.
For most franchises, getting to the conference semifinals would be nothing to be ashamed about.
But this is Los Angeles—and these are the Lakers—and the Los Angeles Clippers' resurgence has only increased the pressure.
What Bynum does moving forward and how the Lakers adapt after last season will determine if Bryant will finish his career with five rings or six.
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