Hoopsworld: With the Halloween deadline approaching, the Los Angeles Lakers have yet to hammer out an extension with center Andrew Bynum. A source close to one side of the negotiations says both parties remain far apart.
While Bynum and his agent David Lee might settle for less than the maximum contract, the source indicates the Lakers aren’t even in the ballpark with their offer.
Bynum’s Side: It’s easy to give credit to the Laker brass (General Manager Mitch Kupchak, Assistant GM Ronnie Lester and future owner Jim Buss) for choosing Bynum at 10 in the 2005 NBA Draft. They were decisive and bold, giving Bynum a promise ahead of the draft that led to him shutting down his workouts with other teams.
Bynum might have gone higher to a franchise like the New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers or Golden State Warriors had he continued auditioning. The Lakers were an attractive option but in the short term it was a difficult transition for Andrew.
Despite overhauling the roster after center Shaquille O’Neal left town, the Lakers were still in “win now” mode. They didn’t necessarily have all the pieces yet – but Bynum was barely used his rookie year. He played just 7.3 minutes a game spread out over 46 appearances.
From Bynum’s perspective looking back, a less successful team might have given him more of an opportunity to play big minutes from the start. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson generally doesn’t like to play rookies. Typical to Jackson’s coaching “style”, he has questioned Bynum’s fire and ability to the media from day one.