By Craig Fields
This has got to be a joke right? I mean April Fool’s Day must have come early this year. Andrew Bynum, the guy who has seemingly made it his mission to be as ineffective as possible over the last three years and still get paid, has landed with a team that is quite possibly the most cohesive, and most talented team in the NBA. I just do not understand it. This team’s chemistry is top notch. For them to bring in a guy who could potentially disrupt the flow of the team as it is right now is quite baffling.
This Pacers organization might have the New England Patriots syndrome. What I mean by that is that they just might feel like they can take any wayward soul, put them on their roster, and poof, just like magic, they become a part of, if not a valuable asset toward the main goal, which is winning.
From Corey Dillon and Randy Moss, to Albert Haynesworth and Aqib Talib, these are players that had a troubled past that Bill Belichick and company decided to take a chance on. Now I do not know of any failed drug tests, or possible anger issues, but to say that Andrew Bynum does come with his own set of issues would be an understatement.
Bill Belichick brought these troubled talents to New England hoping that a winning tradition and organization would help motivate these guys. Maybe that is what Coach Vogel and his front office hope as well.
“Well we don’t know for sure that it will”, said Vogel when asked about why he thought Bynum would work out there when he hasn’t worked out anywhere else. “But there is a good chance it will. We have a great culture here. A team first mentality. A hard-working mentality.”
Well unlike the Patriots, the Pacers path to greatness is still in its infancy stage. Their possibility of greatness is like a baby that needs to be nurtured and taken care of. The Patriots have been great for a while now and have the people in place to make the proper decisions about players like this.
Now with all that being said, the signing of Bynum is low risk, high reward. They signed him to a contract that extends through the rest of the season for total of a million dollars. So even if it doesn’t work out, this little experiment of theirs would not have cost them much, in cap space or luxury tax.
However the question I have with this move, is why would you bring a potential problem into your locker room?
“He’s not coming in here to be our savior,” head coach Vogel said. “He’s coming in here to bring depth to an already deep team, but a team that is not deep at that position. So now we have three elite rim protectors and another guy we can throw the ball into in the post. We are a big man team. He fits our team more than any other team in the NBA. I feel like he is going to fit right in.”
One interesting fact is that the Miami Heat were seriously looking to make an offer to Bynum. The Pacers sit in first in the Eastern Conference while the Miami Heat currently sit in second. Even though the Pacers have denied this spin on the deal, the question that begs to be asked is did the Pacer front office make this deal so that the Heat would not get him.
One thing that has been an Achilles heel of the Heat, is their lack of big men and size in the paint. I would actually accept the cunning and shrewdness of this move if that was the case. Larry Bird, you sly dog, I didn’t know you had it in you.
Anyway back to the potential disaster that this move causes.
Coach Vogel already mentioned that Ian Mahinmi was disappointed by the signing. These Pacers are a close knit group. So close in fact, that if the assimilation of Bynum into the rotation does not go smoothly because some people are rubbed the wrong way, that could potentially cause some level of disruption in the locker room, which could affect play and cohesion on the court. Only time will tell if this move will benefit the Pacers.