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2014 New York Knicks Free Agency Outlook: Andrew Bynum

June 16th, 2014 at 9:34 PM
By Matt Agne

Once upon a time, Andrew Bynum was a dominant force in the NBA playing under Phil Jackson. Fast forward a few years and Bynum's been on three teams following his time with the Los Angeles Lakers and is widely looked at as an injured malcontent. That being said, if anyone can help turn Bynum's career around it's Jackson. Could the New York Knicks look to sign Bynum this off-season to a low risk, high reward veteran's minimum contract much like they did Lamar Odom?

'Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum' photo (c) 2012, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Andrew Bynum had his greatest success playing next to Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant under Phil Jackson on the Los Angeles Lakers. Since his departure, the Lakers have struggled and Bynum's career has never been the same.

Bynum has instead turned into a cautionary tale. His chronic knee problems have nearly rendered him unplayable. After a huge trade to the Philadelphia 76ers, he never played a game in the City of Brotherly Love. His chances with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers went poorly. 

Needless to say, Bynum’s NBA future is largely in question. He's shown he can still do some things on the court but he just can’t seem to get or stay on the court. His knee issues are serious and he doesn’t exactly like to play through the pain.

That being said, he recently told TMZ he'd like to return to the Lakers. However, that's one of the worst things he could do. It's obvious why he'd welcome a return. That's where he had his most success and he'd get to re-unite with Bryant. But Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun system would destroy whatever's left in Bynum's knees. Not a good idea.

The Knicks sought his services during the season. While that was before hiring Jackson, his addition would only seemingly increase the desire to add Bynum to the fold. In the end, the Knicks lost out to the Pacers for Bynum and he only ended up playing two games for Indiana.

That being said, in those two games he played 36 minutes and scored 23 points while pulling down 19 rebounds in the process. He can still play. What he needs is focus, a good medical staff and limited minutes to keep him healthy. He needs the Amare Stoudemire treatment.

'182407444_Cavs_Sixers0396' photo (c) 2013, Philadelphia 76ers - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

ESPNNewYork also thinks New York could be a perfect landing spot for Bynum.

His reputation and career seems to be in need of repair after the injuries and drama over the past two seasons. If anyone can get him back on track, it’s Phil Jackson, whom Bynum enjoyed success with in Los Angeles.

His skill and size warrant the Knicks taking a chance on giving him a non-guaranteed contract. Bring him into training camp and see if former teammate's Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom can get the big man to play ball. If he can, great. If not, no harm done. 

The days of investing in Bynum are gone but it never hurts to look into a low risk, high reward player with past success in your system. Keep in mind that the Knicks will have very little money to use on free agents this summer. Bynum might give them to opportunity to sign a potential high impact player for a low price. Especially if Tyson Chandler is traded.

Signing the 7’0″, 285 pound big man would only cost New York what Indiana Pacers paid for him towards the ends of the season. If lacked drive or inspiration it wouldn't be hard for Jackson to get rid of him.

If he can regain any of his form, signing Bynum would be a major victory for Jackson. The real test for the Knicks' president will be the free agent class of 2015. Until then the Knicks are financially strapped. If they can add a versatile center on their budget it can only be beneficial New York as they transition to the triangle offense.

'Andrew Bynum' photo (c) 2013, Erik Drost - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Tags: Amare Stoudemire, Andrew Bynum, Basketball, Derek Fisher, Indiana Pacers, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson, Philadelphia 76ers

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