The past two years have been possibly the quickest rise and fall of any NBA All-Star in recent memory. Believe it or not, former Los Angeles Lakers‘ center and current Indiana Pacer Andrew Bynum was actually voted as a starter in the 2012 All-Star game. Yes, this is the same guy who has been sued by his own neighbors. Yes, this is the same guy who never suited up for a Philadelphia 76ers team that traded away one of the best players to pass through the franchise since Allen Iverson (Andre Iguodala). And yes, this is the same guy who was kicked out of the Cleveland Cavaliers practice for reportedly shooting every single time he touched the ball.
Furthermore, while a member of the Lakers, Bynum was constantly plagued with knee injuries. Despite his bad knees, he was a contributing factor in two consecutive NBA championship seasons in Los Angeles. What’s funny is that none of these shenanigans occurred while he was a part of the banner franchise, Los Angeles Lakers. This is partly due to having a leader in former coach Phil Jackson, as well as multiple veterans including Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol.
Who knows, without Bynum, the Lakers may have never been able to add those two titles to the rafters. However, when Bynum was traded in the Dwight Howard deal, everything went downhill for the big man. Philadelphia 76ers fans had high expectations, to say the least, of Bynum at the time. In fact, they were hoping he’d stick around for the remainder of his career, but several knee surgeries later, the city couldn’t wait to dump him.
Bynum was predicted to be a highly-coveted free agent until he sat the entire 2012-13 season because he “never really liked basketball.” This has been a rumor surrounding him for years now, that he does not care enough about the sport to work hard and recover. Therefore, Philadelphia did not even offer Bynum a contract that summer. Luckily for him, the Cavaliers were clueless enough to give him a huge, partially guaranteed, contact which ended in a nasty divorce.
The Chicago Bulls received Bynum in the Luol Deng trade, and he was later released. Ultimately, that is how the Pacers ended up with the center a few weeks ago. Bynum was expected to be solely interested in playing for a contender, yet it has been reported he was near an agreement to re-sign with the team who drafted him.
As a Lakers fan, I have primarily fond memories him especially he aided Kobe in surpassing Shaquille O’Neal in terms of rings. With such a dismal season, I would not have minded Bynum’s return. Perhaps if the Lakers don’t make a splash in free agency, the team will bring him back on a one-year deal. Until then, let’s hope he excels in his new position with Indiana. He seems to be fitting in pretty well thus far.