Surprising a lot of the NBA, the Indiana Pacers signed free agent center, Andrew Bynum, to a one year deal. The deal is for the rest of the season and worth one million dollars. While on paper the move seems nice, this type of deal could end up backfiring massively.
Coming into this year, the Cleveland Cavaliers were supposed to be a surprise team. With their young core, many thought Cleveland would make a run at the playoffs. This did not work out. The biggest reason for this is because of Andrew Bynum.
After signing with the team in the offseason, Bynum became a locker room cancer. His tenure with the team ended when the former All-Star was suspended for sleeping with an assistant’s wife.
If everything that has been said is true, this signing makes absolutely no sense for the Pacers. Enjoying great success, why mess with the chemistry of the team with a known immature player? Frank Vogel and David West have done a fantastic job of keeping all players accountable for their actions. Will they be able to tame Bynum? Furthermore, why would you want to add that stress onto Vogel and West? Messing with the balance and chemistry of this team can prove catastrophic for Indiana and their championship hopes this year.
The other big issue with this signing is getting Bynum on the physical court. After not playing a single game in the 2012-2013 season, Bynum struggles mightily in the beginning of this year. In 24 games, the 2005 10th overall pick averaged eight points and five rebounds in 20 minutes of work. This was with All Star point guard Kyrie Irving dishing him the ball. The headache center has only played one full season in his entire career. His knees have been a notable problem since 2007. The amount of time that will have to be in to develop Bynum is not worth the output the big man will give you this year.
The only other reason Indiana would have signed Bynum is so competitors would not. Notably, the Miami Heat is desperate for big men to play against Pacers starting center Roy Hibbert. However, Pacers President Larry Bird called the notion of Indiana signing Bynum to keep him away from other teams, “..The dumbest thing I ever herd. We don’t have the money for that.” If that is the case, the Pacers may have just made a huge mistake.
In his best season, the former Laker averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds a game. Those days are long gone. Bynum is nothing more than a headache who could very well end up hurting Indiana more than helping them. Only time will tell, but as Paul George said, “Whether he wants to stay committed to us…. is a big gamble on our behalf.”
By: Gary Younger