May 4, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum (17) rebounds the ball during the second half of game three in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Lakers Give Andrew Bynum His $16-Million Payday

As expected the Lakers picked up Andrew Bynum’s contract option for next season guaranteeing the immature yet ultra-talented center $16-million for next season.

There really wasn’t any other option for the front office to make in this situation. Yeah, Baby Bynum needs to do some serious growing up. He’s also the last of a dying breed – a true center with true big man game.

Of course with Jim Buss in his corner Bynum wasn’t going anywhere. At least not yet.

The coming season is a make or break year for Bynum. You’re already hearing plenty of Pau Gasol trade rumors and it’s inevitable that change is coming. How much more change depends on the coming year.

Bynum is without a doubt the biggest chip the Lakers can cash-in should they seek to do some major moving a shaking.

The real problem is that after this season the Lakers will have to workout a brand new contract for Bynum. So trading him won’t be as simple as making a few calls and fielding offers.

It goes without saying that Drew’s mental approach is the biggest question mark concerning his future. When he’s tuned in and focused Bynum is among the NBA elite. When he’s calling closeout games easy and jacking up three pointers he’s a bigger waste of space than Euro Disney.

Jim Buss is preaching the patient approach but how long will that last? The easy answer is one more year. At this point that’s all the Lakers have committed to Bynum. Anything more than that will depend on the results of the next season. Then again, the Laker brass could fool us all and pull the trigger on a Bynum trade this offseason. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Tags: Andrew Bynum Jim Buss Pau Gasol

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