Count me among those who believe talking about Andrew Bynum's relevance at this point in the once promising and now seemingly poisonous center's career a waste of time. That is until the 7-footer with two NBA championship rings shows he has even the faintest interest in working hard for a third.
That said the free agent did indeed reenter the conversation this weekend after signing with...the Indiana Pacers. You were expecting the Miami Heat or some other team desperate for big man help perhaps?
Quick recap of how we got here: Bynum sat out the entire 2012-13 campaign with a knee injury - but still got paid bank by the Philadelphia 76ers. He starts this season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Like the Wizards, the Cavs talked playoff push in the preseason after ending in the draft lottery far too often. Unlike Washington, Cleveland has yet to show that form.
Bynum, 25, did little to help. He averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 24 games. He also moped and whined enough to cause waves with coach Mike Brown and the organization. The Cavs eventually suspended him, and then traded him to the Chicago Bulls for Luol Deng. Really, it was Bynum's contract for Deng and the Bulls waived the center moments after the deal.
If healthy and interested, the former Los Angeles Lakers interior anchor could be interesting, but we're talking a Gheorge Muresan sized "if."
Once a free agent, Bynum said he only wanted to play for a contender. The Heat lack a proven center capable of slowing down Indiana's Roy Hibbert. Therefore, for a time many thought Bynum would take his wasted and decaying talents to South Beach.
In between Miami's existing project, Greg Oden, began playing and showing that he could do effectively for stretches. That may have changed the Heat's interest assuming any existed.
Others around the league could use a Hibbert counter as well or simply size. Factor in the minor cost and the move by the Pacers borders on brilliant even if Bynum is most definitely a risk. Indiana has taken a potential threat to its NBA title hopes off the market and perhaps provided its own roster with backup center that could scare upcoming foes.
“We are obviously happy to have him join our team... With the minutes he gets, he should be a valuable addition," Pacers team president Larry Bird said via Indiana's Twitter account on Saturday.
Now we'll see how Bird and coach Frank Vogel handle the potential locker room chemistry killer. Regardless, props to Bird and Indiana for the semi out-of-the-box and counter-offensive maneuver.
If the Pacers want a standing ovation from me, they'll tell Bynum just to stay home and watch Indiana dominate from his couch.