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Andrew Bynum-Dwight Howard deal still up in air

Rumors fly, but Bynum's agent says his client hasn't said whether he would sign an extension with another team.

July 19, 2012|By Ben Bolch
  • Lakers center Andrew Bynum, left, tries to fend off Orlando's Dwight Howard during Game 1 of the 2009 NBA Finals.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum, left, tries to fend off Orlando's Dwight… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Dwight Howard isn't the only All-Star center dealing with commitment issues these days.

Andrew Bynum might soon face a decision on his future as well.

Bynum's agent, David Lee, said Thursday that his client has not told him whether he would sign a contract extension with another team besides the Lakers, a move that is widely considered a precursor to any trade involving Howard.

"We've never had that conversation," Lee said. "If we had a conversation every time there was talk about a trade, we'd be talking about other teams more than we would the Lakers."

There were conflicting reports about whether Howard would be open to signing a long-term extension with the Lakers should Orlando trade the disgruntled center.

While reported that Howard would be amenable to staying with the Lakers for years to come, ESPN quoted Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, as saying that his client intended to explore free agency in the summer of 2013 no matter which team traded for him.

A trade involving Howard could also hinge in part on Bynum's desires.

A Yahoo Sports report stated that the Cleveland Cavaliers would be willing to participate in a three-team trade involving Howard only if they had assurances that Bynum would commit to them long-term. The Cavaliers would be granted permission to contact Bynum's representatives, according to the report, only after the three teams involved in the trade had agreed to the framework for the deal.

Lee said no teams — including the Lakers — had called to discuss any potential trades involving Bynum or preferred destinations for his client, who will become a free agent after next season.

"I think at a point in time someone would like to know where he stands," Lee said, "but that's just my feelings."

Reports that surfaced last week alleging which teams Bynum would be willing to play for long-term bewildered Lee because the agent was on a fishing trip in Alaska with Bynum at the time.

"Neither of us were accessible," Lee said. "Where that list came from, I have no clue."

Discussions between the Lakers and Lee about a contract extension have not commenced, the agent said. Bynum has one more year left on his contract for $16.1 million.

"I would anticipate" the contract discussions would start soon, Lee said, "but I leave that up to [Lakers executives] Jimmy [Buss] and Mitch [Kupchak]. I'll let that take its natural course."

Bynum returned to the continental United States earlier this week after catching some halibut and salmon on his trip.

It might not be long before he learns which team is most eager to reel him in.

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