Lakers' Andrew Bynum on trade rumor: Who, me?
After scoring 17 points and taking a career-high 18 rebounds in a 95-77 victory Sunday over Milwaukee, Bynum was asked if he had heard the rumor.
"Nah, what rumor is that?" he said.
You for Bosh.
"Ah, that's crazy," he said, smiling sheepishly. "I didn't know that."
He recovered quickly, in case it was true.
"I love playing basketball," he said. "Whatever happens, happens."
Bynum need not worry. He'll be going to Toronto later this month only when the Lakers play a road game against the Raptors.
The 22-year-old is prone to lapses, but the Lakers still believe in his talents.
Not to mention that he is a favorite of the Buss family, specifically of Executive Vice President Jim Buss, who has been given credit by his father, team owner Jerry Buss, for discovering Bynum and making him the 10th pick in the 2005 draft.
Such a scenario also would be difficult to execute for financial reasons. The Raptors would assume $29 million of guaranteed money for Bynum over the next two seasons and a possible $16-million team option for 2012-13 while the Lakers would have their own headaches with Bosh, who can opt out of his contract after this season and become a free agent. They would re-sign him, presumably, but would have to shell out more money for the 25-year-old power forward than Bynum was scheduled to make, pushing them further into high-end luxury-tax territory, which already was making them squeamish.
(Quick flashback to Jerry Buss shifting uncomfortably in his seat when asked in a November interview about having the NBA's largest payroll: "It doesn't thrill me.")
The Lakers have a player payroll of $91.3 million and will currently pay $21.4 million in luxury taxes this season, more than any other team.
In the unlikely event the Lakers trade Bynum this season, it will probably be for a point guard. Derek Fisher is 35 years old and in the last year of his contract. Jordan Farmar is also in the last year of his contract. Shannon Brown has one more year at $2.2 million, but it's at his option.
One last thought: The Lakers already have a pretty good power forward. His name is Pau Gasol.
-- Mike Bresnahan
Photo: Andrew Bynum scores on a dunk against the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center on Jan. 10, 2010. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images