The Indiana Pacers added size and depth Saturday when they signed center Andrew Bynum to a contract for the reason of the season.
The Pacers will pay Bynum $1 million for the rest of season, a source told ESPN.
Bynum, who will join the Pacers next week, will back up All-Star Roy Hibbert along with Ian Mahinmi. Also featuring power forwards David West and Luis Scola, the Pacers will have some of the best depth in the NBA at the big man positions.
The move also kept Bynum away from the rival Miami Heat, who beat the Pacers in seven games in last season’s Eastern Conference finals. The Pacers enter Saturday with a three-game lead over the Heat for the East’s best record.
“We are obviously happy to have him join our team,” Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said in a release. “He gives us added size, he is a skilled big man and he has championship experience. With the minutes he gets, he should be a valuable addition.”
Five teams were interested in Bynum, including the Heat, but it was the Pacers who had a roster spot and the space under the luxury tax to add him now.
“It really wasn’t a hard decision, I think it’s the right fit for me,” Bynum said in a statement. “In all honesty, I think we’ve got the best chance of winning. It will be great to back up Roy, and I’ll do whatever I can to help this team.” ESPN
Long story short, the Pacers signed Bynum to keep other teams, mainly the Miami Heat, from obtaining his services. The risk of locker room dysfunction is minimal because of Larry Bird’s presence so this is a no-brainer at one million dollars although some would disagree with this sentiment.
Don’t get why Indy has any interest in Bynum, other than to play keepaway from Miami. Which is not really a great reason.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 1, 2014
Meanwhile, Greg Oden is still having trouble getting on the court. Oden has been limited to less than ten minutes in each game he has played in, and the only Heat player listed above 6-10 is Chris Bosh (and that’s likely being generous). Making moves solely to hamper one opponent is normally a bad idea. In this case, the Pacers have taken away a dangerous wild card from the two-time champions. – AL