Bynum Calculus

I feel sorry for Andrew Bynum, facing another months-long rehab process. That has to be depressing.

The implications are ... big and all over the place. Does a couple of months without Bynum make the Lakers a rung below the Cavaliers, Celtics, and Magic? Will he be good when he gets back? When will he get back ... will his return be postponed again and again like last year? Will this have a bad effect on the other Lakers, and make them kind of depressed? Can Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom fill the void? Will the Lakers make a trade?

One of the biggest questions I can see, however, goes to other teams who might now think the Western race could be more open. With the trade deadline approaching, will they go into "win now" mode?

John Hollinger (Insider) explores:

It has huge implications for the next few teams below the Lakers in the standings in the West, because if he's going to be out for the playoffs it would greatly increase those teams' odds of winning a conference championship.

That, in turn, might affect the calculus for a team like Denver or New Orleans should the opportunity to make a major short-term improvement -- at long-term cost -- come their way in the days leading up to the trade deadline.

And it certainly would affect what type of player those teams would be looking for -- basically, they would go from trying to acquire big 5s to looking more for nimble frontcourt players to face a Gasol-Odom frontcourt for L.A.