Lakers Confirm Andrew Bynum Contract Extension

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed fourth-year center Andrew Bynum to a multi-year contract extension, it was confirmed late Thursday afternoon by General Manager Mitch Kupchak

Appearing in 35 games last season, Bynum averaged 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks before suffering a season-ending knee injury during the Lakers 100-99 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 13. 

"We're extremely happy to have signed Andrew to this extension, which will secure his immediate future with the franchise," Kupchak said. "Andrew has shown a vast array of skills for a player his size and if he continues to stay dedicated and work hard to improve, he has an excellent chance to develop into one of the top players in the NBA."

Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

However, the deal was expected to be a three-year extension in the neighborhood of $42 million, which works out to $14 million a year. The Lakers would reportedly have a have a fourth-year option on the deal for $16 million, bringing the total deal to $58 million.

The money proposed is closer to what Bynum was asking than what the Lakers originally offered -- Bynum and agent David Lee wanted a max deal that would have been worth closer to $17 million per year, while the Lakers were allegedly offering closer to $10 million. This would be a shorter term than the five-years his agent originally asked for, giving the Lakers some relief in case Bynum does not fully recover from his knee injury last season, or has a recurrence. At the end of this contract Bynum would be an unrestricted free agent.

"This has been a fantastic week for me so far: turning 21, winning our first two games of the season, and now getting this new contract signed," Bynum said after the team confirmed the extension. "This gives me and my family financial security, and more importantly, cements my future with the Lakers, which in my opinion is the best organization in all of professional sports. I couldn’t be happier."

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that rules NBA contract negotiations, the Lakers and Bynum had until Oct. 31 to reach a contract extension. If not, Bynum would have become a restricted free agent this summer, meaning he could negotiate with any team, but the Lakers would have retained the right to match.

However, traditionally teams future (or existing) young stars are signed to an extension by the Oct. 31 deadline. In past years, players such as Chris Paul, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade all signed extensions by that time. Wade and James also signed shorter three-year deals, making them unrestricted free agents earlier.

Throughout training camp -- and going back to last year -- Bynum has received criticism from coach Phil Jackson for his work ethic. However, Bynum has dramatically improved his size and conditioning since coming into the league and is now one of the stronger centers in the NBA.

Bynum will make $2.8 million for this season as part of his rookie deal.

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