INDIANAPOLIS – Those wondering what Larry Bird might do to bolster the Pacers’ roster as the playoffs get closer got a bit of an unexpected answer the last 24 hours.
Rumors that swirled on Friday were confirmed on Saturday morning when the team made official their signing of center Andrew Bynum to a contract for the rest of the season.
“It really wasn’t a hard decision, I think it’s the right fit for me and, in all honesty, I think we’ve got the best chance of winning,” said Bynum in a statement released through the team. “It will be great to back up Roy and I’ll do whatever I can to help this team.”
Bynum is expected to join the team sometime this week after a whirlwind of a two months for the nine-year NBA veteran.
After sitting out the 2012-2013 season with the Sixers following a knee injury, Bynum played in 24 games for the Cavaliers before being suspended in late December for conduct detrimental to the team. Bynum was then traded to the Bulls as part of the Luol Deng deal but was quickly released by Chicago.
“We are obviously happy to have him join our team,” said Pacers President Larry Bird through a statement from the team. “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.”
Bynum was selected with the 10th pick of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the NBA’s youngest player to be selected at 17 years and 244 days old. Bynum played seven seasons in LA, enjoying his finest season in 2011-2012 when he averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds a contest.
As part of the trade that brought Dwight Howard to the Lakers, Bynum was sent to Philadelphia where he stayed for one season. The center had issues all season long with his right knee and never once played in a game for the sixers.
Signed to a two-year deal by the Cavaliers, Bynum saw 20 minutes of action per game for the Cavaliers this season, averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds before his indefinite suspension and eventually trade to Chicago.