Any team interested in acquiring Andrew Bynum as part of a Dwight Howard deal shouldn't make any assumptions about their ability to keep L.A.'s young 7-footer around long term, says Bynum's agent David Lee. ESPNLA's Ramona Shelburne has the details:
The agent for Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum says it would be "foolish" for any team to trade for his client without first speaking to Bynum to gauge his interest in signing an extension or long-term contract with them.
The Lakers so far have not granted the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic or any team permission to speak directly with Bynum or his representatives. Bynum has been the subject of trade talks involving the Magic's Dwight Howard.
"I can't imagine any team foolish enough to do the deal without asking permission to speak to Andrew," Bynum's agent David Lee told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Thursday. "That's beyond belief, but strange things happen."
However Lee denied that Bynum had a list of preferred destinations, saying he and Bynum chuckled when they read reports while on vacation in Alaska last week indicating he had already made such decisions ...
... Lee denied that Bynum had a list of teams he would ultimately sign an extension with, saying he and Bynum chuckled when they read reports while on vacation indicating he had preferred destinations.
"I looked at it and he looked it and we both wondered where it came from," Lee said."
I've long felt Bynum would be willing to play in a lot of different NBA cities, so long as he could get the max contract for which he's in line, continue his ascension as a frontline NBA player, and then be competitive as well. Still, "a lot" is not "anywhere." (For example, last year he expressed how "terrible" it is DeMarcus Cousins has to languish in Sacramento. Fair to say Drew isn't likely joining the Kings.) Yesterday, I mentioned the leverage Bynum has in this process, and Lee's comments only reinforce the idea.
If the Lakers line up a trade but Bynum signals he won't stick around in his new town after this season, that deal won't happen.
In other news, as reported by ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher, Howard's agent Dan Fegan -- it's been a big day for agents -- says his client won't sign an extension with whatever team trades acquires him and will explore free agency next summer. On the surface, this might appear to undercut yesterday's report Howard would be willing to re-sign with the Lakers if traded here, but really doesn't. First, Camp Howard gains nothing by making promises now, before Howard is even traded. Second, that he wouldn't extend before his contract expires was a foregone conclusion and is a matter of finances, not city preference.
If Howard signs a "fresh" deal with a new team after the '12-'13 season, it can be worth up to $117 million over five seasons. Extending before that costs him at least two years, and tens of millions in the process.
The Lakers would be willing to acquire Howard with or without assurances he'd stay long term, confident a combination of team culture, the perks of L.A. life, and the extra year/money they'd offer as the holder of his Bird rights would be enough to keep Howard in purple and gold long term. Learning now he'd be willing to stay in theory removes some of the risk, but since Howard wouldn't be signing until after the season, it's hardly something the Lakers could truly bank on.
Really, all that's happening there is a little message control from Fegan.