At 32-10, you wouldn’t think the Indiana Pacers needed much retooling. But in the curious case of mercurial 7-footer Andrew Bynum, Larry Bird thought it’s worth a shot, at least until the end of the season, and we can’t blame him. With Miami on the ropes, struggling to find their competitive fire after a rough January (5-5 over their last 10 games), the Pacers recognize how legitimate their title hopes are right now, and an extra big man who can score and defend extremely well (at times) could be what keeps LeBron from a three-peat.
[AP] “We are obviously happy to have him join our team,” Larry Bird said in a statement issued by the team less than 12 hours before Indiana hosted Brooklyn on Saturday night.
“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.”
“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,” Bynum said in a statement. “It will be great to back up Roy and I’ll do whatever I can to help this team.”
It’s not crazy to speculate that Bynum could find his game again in the new, less pressurized role of back-up on a great team. Between Philly and Cleveland, Bynum had been thought of as a panacea for struggling franchises, which appeared to bother him, as he did not relish the role of savior.
Details of his new contract have not been released, though he’s expected to make his Pacers debut sometime next week (at which point the exact figures and terms of his deal will be made public).