After quitting basketball in Cleveland, being shipped to Chicago for Luol Deng and subsequently cut from the Bulls for money reasons, Andrew Bynum has a new home: the Indiana Pacers. The news comes courtesy of ESPN; details can be found here.
Make no mistake, this move was aimed directly at the Miami Heat. Not only do the Pacers add a backup for Roy Hibbert, but they also keep a potential Hibbert foil away from Miami, who was also in the running for Bynum. At the very least the center offers rim protection while Hibbert is on the bench, and at best he regains the offensive prowess he had in Los Angeles and anchors the Pacers second unit with Lance Stephenson.
The Pacers and Bynum are saying all the right things, but it must be mentioned, Bynum has been attached to five teams in two seasons for a reason, and he didn’t leave any of them on good terms. Los Angeles willingly traded him away in the Dwight Howard trade (and Orlando didn’t even care if they didn’t get him back in that trade), he never put on a Sixers jersey before Philadelphia let him walk last summer for nothing. His Cleveland stay ended with rumors of sleeping with a coach’s wife and Bynum deciding he was done with basketball, and he was gone from Chicago before he ever even really got there.
Could Bynum help the Pacers surge past Miami and to a Larry O’Brien trophy in June? Absolutely, but if he screws this up too, nobody will be surprised.