The Pacers announced the signing Saturday and Bird was quick to point out that the former
Bynum has been maligned since his departure from the Lakers, who didn't re-sign him after the 2011-12 season, during which he averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds. He signed with the
He signed this season with the
None of that seemed to matter to Bird. "Any basketball player wants to play," he said. "He's 26 years old and this has been his life for a long time.
"You hear all the negativity but I never … just take somebody else's advice or what they have to say about them. I like to find out on my own. He's big, he can help us and that's all that matters."
As for Bynum becoming a locker-room distraction, Bird was having none of it. The Pacers executive wasn't worried about the long-term impact of the signing either.
"The way these guys roll around here, I think they can handle themselves," Bird said. "They control their own locker room. It never really entered my mind. They're big boys, they know what their goals are and if Andrew can come in here and help them, it'll be much appreciated.
"I ain't worried about next year, and I haven't all year. We're in the now and we're going to do whatever we can to go as far as we can. We know there's going to be some tough competition but if we get a chance to improve our team, we're going to try to do that."