Andrew Bynum says he won’t play until early December
Reporting from Auburn Hills, Mich.
The return date moved again, ever so slightly.
In the latest shift of time, Lakers center Andrew Bynum said he hoped to return to practice soon but wouldn’t be appearing in any games until early December.
“Hopefully in a week or so, I’m practicing,” he said Wednesday, backing off his earlier plan to be playing by Thanksgiving.
Bynum’s extended absence from off-season knee surgery, coupled with reserve center Theo Ratliff being sidelined at least four to six weeks after knee surgery of his own, could bring slightly more urgency to the Lakers’ plans to add a big man to an ever-thinning frontcourt.
They have talked to the representative for free agent Jake Voskuhl, a 6-foot-11 center known for his physical play, and they are also interested in Paul Davis, a 6-11 center as well.
Voskuhl, 33, has career averages of four points and 3.4 rebounds a game.
Davis, 26, spent three seasons with the Clippers before playing only two games with Washington last season. He has career averages of 2.6 points and 1.9 rebounds.
Another possibility remains veteran Erick Dampier, though it might not be a perfect match. Dampier is expected to want a guaranteed contract for the rest of the season, while the Lakers are looking for a little more mobility in the post.
Dampier, 35, averaged six points and 7.3 rebounds last season for Dallas.
Players cannot be signed to 10-day contracts until later in the season, but the Lakers can sign one to a non-guaranteed contract to be paid on a weekly basis.
“The Lakers are a great situation,” said Voskuhl’s agent, Mark Bartelstein. “Any time they call, you’re certainly going to listen. Hopefully something’s going to happen.”
Voskuhl did not play in the NBA last season. He was invited to the Clippers’ training camp this season but was cut in favor of reserve center Jarron Collins.
Voskuhl was close to being signed by a couple of teams last season and mulled some offers in Europe, but he sat out the season in part because his wife was having a baby.
“He’s stayed in shape,” Bartelstein said. “There’s no doubt he can help an NBA team.”
The Lakers probably won’t make any moves until after their three-game trip ends Friday in Minnesota. There’s a chance they won’t add anybody if they think Bynum can indeed return to playing in the first week of December.
The Lakers have a host of games against teams with losing records to start that month, including Houston, Sacramento, Washington and the Clippers.
Above all, they see no reason to rush Bynum back, even if his return trickles into the second week of December.
Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.
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