Andrew Bynum Deserves Respect and Contract Extension from Lakers

Andrew Bynum has earned the right to play for respect and a big contract, which is exactly why he shouldn’t care what the Los Angeles Lakers decide to do with him going forward.

After the Oklahoma City Thunder eliminated the team from the postseason last night, the superstar center told TNT’s Craig Sager (h/t Ben Golliver of CBSSports) that he doesn’t care where he plays in the future.

When asked by Sager if he expected the organization to give him a long-term extension, Bynum said:

"I'm not sure. It really doesn't matter to me. I'll play anywhere. I think for the most part I had a pretty decent season and then an OK postseason. Obviously this last game was the worst game I've probably played. It sucks, obviously, we're going fishing. My focus is next year and coming back stronger, adding things to my game."

Clearly, the 24-year old is an elite player in the NBA and has a bright future ahead of him in the league. During the regular season, he played 35.2 MPG and averaged 18.7 PPG, 11.8 RPG and 1.9 BPG, although his numbers dipped to 16.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG and 3.4 BPG during the playoffs.

Bynum did all this in the face of swirling trade rumors involving a potential deal between LA and Orlando for disgruntled Magic center Dwight Howard.

The Lakers have a team option to pick up Bynum for the 2012-13 season for $16.47 million and they would be absolutely insane to decline it.

However, the franchise must hammer out an extension sooner than later or they risk losing their starting All-Star center via unrestricted free agency next summer.

Almost every team in the league would jump at the chance to make Bynum a max player and the cornerstone to build around.

Fortunately, the Lakers are the front-runners and ‘Drew would love to remain in Los Angeles.

"I definitely want to stay," he said. "You kind of asked an open-...

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