The Indiana Pacers looked like they made a great move by signing Andrew Bynum midway through the season to help their title push, but his knee problems that have been following him for his entire career never went away and after playing only two games for his latest club, it’s been announced he’s out for the entire postseason, which casts a very big shadow on the remainder of his career.
And it’s not like anyone didn’t see this coming. The Lakers exercised their option on Bynum’s contract heading into the 2012-2013 season worth $16.1 million, but traded him two months later to the Philadelphia 76ers so they could land Dwight Howard. That four-team trade should have helped the Magic land Bynum, but they preferred to think long-term, fearing Bynum’s free agency status (after that season) and his knee problems.
The Sixers, coming off making it to the conference semifinals, thought the addition of Bynum might help them go deep in the playoffs and give them an advantage over the Miami Heat. However, they lost Andre Iguodala and as it turned out, the arrival of Bynum put rebuilding and disbanding of a playoff team into high gear. With every week that passed more bad news appeared about Bynum’s knees. To make a long story short, he didn’t play a single game that season, generating more interest with his hair than his ability.
Bynum was regarded as the best offensive center in the NBA following the 2011-2012 season, averaging 18.7 points per game that campaign. He didn’t see himself as someone untouchable, but most teams in the league weren’t willing to take the risks. The Cleveland Cavaliers, trying to make the playoffs and feeling they were one good signing away from that, signed Bynum to a deal that was full of incentives and could have paid him up to $24.79 million over two years.
Bynum, as you all know, didn’t last that long. He played only 24 games for the Cavs before getting traded to the Chicago Bulls a day before his guarantee kicked in. The Bulls simply released him to clear some cap space, while the Cavs’ gamble failed, getting back Luol Deng for what remained of his $14 million deal before he too will find someone else to play for next season. Bynum? He tried to force his way off the team by acting like a child during practice, which helped the Cavs decide to get rid of him.
The Indiana Pacers were next, giving him a $1 million deal for the rest of the season, hoping he’ll be a spark off their bench, something they’ve been missing for quite some time. Knee problems didn’t go away, even if the attitude issues did. Bynum played only two games for the Pacers in the regular season. They have the same under-performing bench, and Bynum is now one step closer towards retirement, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
Bynum was the 10th overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, coming straight out of high school. He played seven seasons for the Lakers, being a part of two championship-winning teams, making the All-Star in 2012 and the All-NBA second team that season as well. He has a total of 418 games in a span of nine NBA seasons (46.4 per year), playing only 26 regular season games since leaving the Lakers almost two years ago.