Andrew Bynum has publicly stated he would like to return to LA, preferably with the Los Angeles Lakers. After two seasons of injuries and a questioned commitment to rehab, it appears as though Bynum wants to return to the franchise where he was once considered one of the game’s best centers. If the Lakers can get him on a league minimum contract, he’s worth bringing in as a situational role player.
Bynum put up career-high numbers in his final season with the Lakers in 2011-12. He is a long way away from being the 18.7 point, 11.8 rebound player he was then, but has shown when injury-free, he can have a positive influence on the court. He only played two games in his latest contract with the Indiana Pacers, but he did manage 11.5 points and 9.5 rebounds that are more than acceptable numbers for a guy on the league’s minimum salary.
The league minimum is the only scenario the Lakers should take in Bynum. He is injury-prone and with so many questioning his commitment in recent years, proving he is prepared to play for bottom dollar would go a long way to shedding that reputation. Bynum came into the league as a 17-year-old and at 26, he still has a lot to give a team if he can regain his health and focus.
Pairing up Bynum with Jordan Hill, who the Lakers should also bring back next season, gives them two young players with two completely different playing styles. Having Hill’s hustle and offensive rebounding with Bynum’s low-post offense and defensive presence, the Lakers have added flexibility and the ability to adjust depending on the opposition each night.
Bynum and his mindset largely determine this scenario. If he is prepared to sign a minimum contract, preferably non-guaranteed if you’re the Lakers front office, and proves he can put in the work to be a consistent and reliable performer, he should be given another chance. The Lakers can’t lose in this situation. They either get a decent backup center on minimum money or they get an injury-prone ineffective player they can ditch after another mediocre year of rebuilding.
Bynum has another long-term deal in him if he can get through a full season relatively injury-free. When healthy, he is at the very least a capable backup center and wouldn’t be out of place starting if Hill went down injured. The Lakers have nothing to lose here. The potential benefits at least warrant the discussion between Bynum and the Lakers.