The Los Angeles Lakers want to build the future of their franchise around Andrew Bynum; however, the All-Star center already has a short list of destinations he would like to play for when he becomes a free agent.
According to Yahoo Sports, Bynum is interested in playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets with a couple of other unnamed teams involved.
Bynum has been in the midst of the trade talks involving Dwight Howard, but a deal hasn’t fallen through yet. According to reports, the Orlando Magic are willing to sign Bynum to a three-year extension, a move Bynum doesn’t want to make. Instead he would like to explore the free agent market.
After the upcoming season is over, the Lakers can offer their star center a five-year $108 million contract, but it will be interesting to see if he takes it. Bynum seems to be an emotional player at this early stage of his career. He has been known to throw his fair share of fits and has shown that he has plenty of maturing to do.
However, the Lakers need to do whatever they can to get him to sign back with the team. He is the best offensive center in the league who also plays exceptional defense. The problem for the Lakers may be the chemistry that Bynum has with current head coach Mike Brown. Last season they had multiple conflicts that led coach Brown to bench Bynum in the fourth quarter of a couple of games. For a player as young and as talented as Bynum is, he is not going to take getting benched well which could make his decision to leave much easier.
This offseason, those two need to sit down and figure out how to work together and figure out what they are looking for in each other before the season starts. One thing that might make this work easier is the Lakers new addition Steve Nash. Nash works well with centers and power forwards and should make Bynum a happier player.
The only thing that can lead Bynum to those three teams he wants to play for, is the fact that with those teams he would be the face of the franchise. In Los Angeles, he is overshadowed by the likes of Kobe Bryant and now Nash. The ego of a great player like Bynum usually has a hard time playing second fiddle to another player. In Cleveland, Dallas or Houston he would be able to create his own identity and be the player who leads a team to championship contention.
With Bynum putting his wants in free agency out early, it gives the Lakers plenty of time to make things right with Bynum this season and convince him to sign with them. The Lakers need to make sure they have him as he is the future of the organization and without him, the Lakers may be behind the eight ball in the near future.
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