Former Lakers center Andrew Bynum, traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers and cut by the Chicago Bulls last month, has been signed by the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers, who have the best record in the NBA at 35-10 -- three games better in the Eastern Conference than the two-time champion Miami Heat -- announced the deal on Saturday morning. No terms of the contract were released.
“We are obviously happy to have him join our team,” said Larry Bird, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations, in a statement on the team’s website. “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.”
The 7-foot-1 Bynum, who turned 26 in October, averaged 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.2 blocked shots in 20 minutes a game during 24 appearances this season before the Cavaliers suspended him for conduct detrimental to the team. He was soon traded to the Bulls in a deal that brought forward Luol Deng to Cleveland.
Bynum joins a talented frontcourt that includes 7-2 Roy Hibbert at center, 6-9 David West at power forward and reserve big men Luis Scola and Ian Mahinmi.
“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 released by the team. “It will be great to back up Roy and I’ll do whatever I can to help this team.”
Knee problems derailed Bynum’s career. He last played a full season in 2011-12, his final one with the Lakers, when he averaged career bests of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds. He signed with the Philadelphia 76ers the next season but never played in a game because of recurring knee injuries.