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 Extension a good sign for Lakers' Andrew Bynum(Video)

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Age : 108
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PostSubject: Extension a good sign for Lakers' Andrew Bynum(Video)   November 1st 2008, 3:48 pm

LA Times:

All along, there was that other fork in the financial road, the path where Andrew Bynum did not sign a contract extension by Friday's deadline and thought about the uncertainty of his future all season long.

Thus the reason for his exhaling after signing a four-year, $57.4-million contract extension with the Lakers at 4:45 p.m. Thursday.

"It's definitely a sigh of relief just to get it off my shoulders," he said Friday. "I just definitely wanted to get secure. That was a big thing for me, and also to be a Laker, which I want to be for life, playing with Kobe [Bryant] and Pau [Gasol]and the rest of the gang."

Bynum will make $2.8 million this season in the last year of his old deal and is now under contract until at least 2012. The team holds a one-year option for $16 million that would keep him around until July 2013.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson hopes the 7-foot center will connect his vast potential with production over the next several seasons.

"He's only 21 years old," Jackson said. "He's just becoming the player he's going to be and we see the high potential. He's being paid on his potential. Accordingly, we want him to meet that potential."

What Bynum's deal means for the rest of the team remains to be seen. The Lakers have already committed almost $75 million toward next season's payroll and are essentially too far into luxury-tax territory to sign another player making $10 million a year.

Lamar Odom is in the last year of a six-year, $65-million contract and said he wanted to stay in the range of $10 million to $11 million a year on his next contract.

"Who wants to take a pay cut?" Odom said. "Nobody. A garbage man, if he makes $8 [an hour] one day, he at least wants to make $8 or $9 the next day. He works every day. He doesn't want to take a cut.

"It won't be an issue until it's an issue. For me to be worrying about it right now, I can't do nothing. Tell me, what options do I have?"

Odom, who has been a model citizen on the second unit after initially feeling disappointed, will be an unrestricted free agent next July, as will Trevor Ariza, who can expect a healthy raise from the $3.1 million he makes this season.

For the next eight months, the Lakers will focus on winning the franchise's 15th title, but the attention will shift to who stays and who goes in the ninth month.

"When you have a team that you think is talented, and they continue to play well, there are going to be challenges during the off-season in keeping the group together," General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. "So we'll have those challenges."

In their perfect world, however, they'll also have a championship to celebrate, along with a victory parade to plan and the need to see a team jeweler.

Bynum was glad to put himself in place to be part of such a scenario, if it turns out to be true, perhaps on more than one occasion.

"It would be nice to get like three or four of those things before Kobe does what he does," Bynum said. "There's a lot of rumors."

The rumors would concern Bryant's oft-dissected option of playing overseas, though Bryant is expected to re-sign with the team if he terminates his contract next July and add more years to the two that would have been left on his original deal. He can re-sign for up to five years and $135 million.

Of course, Bryant might take a longer look at his options if the Lakers don't win a championship this season, a plot line for another day, perhaps in late June, when a lot more will be known about the team's championship potential and the mind-set of its 10-time All-Star.

On Friday, Bryant said he was pleased with the signing of Bynum.

"Everybody knows he has tremendous upside, so I think locking him in for three [years] minimum is a good thing," he said.

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