The future of the Lakers is in question now that the team lost to the Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals. The Lakers have Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Steve Blake, and Josh McRoberts all signed for next season. They have team options on three players including center Andrew Bynum, who would be owed $16.4 million. Several changes are expected to be made for the team this offseason, and the future of Bynum is uncertain.
Asked after his team’s season-ending Game 5 loss to Oklahoma City if he expects to sign a long-term contract, Bynum answered ambivalently.
“I’m not sure,” Bynum said, “it really doesn’t matter to me. I’ll play anywhere. I think for the most part I had a pretty decent season and OK postseason. This last game was probably the worst game I played in the playoffs. The focus is next year and coming back stronger and adding things to your game,” he told TNT’s Craig Sager.
When Sager followed up and asked if Bynum would want to remain with the Lakers, with whom he’s spent his entire career, Bynum showed more loyalty.
“I definitely want to stay. You kind of asked an open-ended question. Obviously things are going to be different come next year, but I’m going to be ready.”
That’s probably not the answer Lakers fans wanted to hear. The team will almost assuredly pick up his option for next season, but whether he remains on the roster is another question. I think he will be. The only player he’s been involved in trade talks for is Dwight Howard, and I think Howard will be back with Orlando or dealt to the Nets. But when it comes time for free agency, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bynum left, especially if Kobe’s still around. Not only does he seem like the type of player who would want to be the star of a team, but recall this incredible quote he provided a few months ago.
Below is a video of Bynum’s comments to Sager (via Eye on Basketball):