|Andrew Bynum is looking for options next summer. (Getty Images)|
Should Andrew Bynum reach free agency, you can be sure 30 NBA teams will have interest in him. But he's said to have a short list himself.
If he doesn't sign an extension with the Lakers, he'll be an unrestricted free agent next summer and will draw a ton of interest from around the league. Of course the Lakers would be a heavy contender for him, but according to Yahoo! Sports, Bynum would favor the Mavericks, Rockets and Cavaliers. According to the report, "a couple other places" could be involved too.
The extension the Lakers can offer would be a maximum three-year, $60 million deal, which is the kind of extension that basically nobody ever signs. Chris Paul is eligible for the same extension and has made it pretty clear he has no intention to sign it.
Why? Because wait an extra year and you can sign a five-year, $108 million extension with your existing team.
Bynum of course is involved heavily in Dwight Howard trade rumors, but the Magic are pushing for Bynum to agree to the three-year extension if they're to go through with the deal. According to reports, Bynum is hesitant with that and prefers to test the free agent market.
But if he's to survive the Dwightmare and remain in L.A., it would seem extremely likely that the Lakers would be able to lock up Bynum long term. Owner Jerry Buss loves Bynum and has resisted trades for him in the past.
Keep in mind too, Bynum is only 24 years old and is coming off his best season as a pro. He made his first All-Star Game, averaged career highs in points and rebounds and seemed to really settle into a role of becoming a dominant big man. Attitude and health have always been the primary issues for Bynum, but he played in 60 of L.A.'s 66 games last season and seemed to be as focused as ever.
It would seem the Lakers would do just about everything possible to keep Bynum, but exploring the market a bit is always something players are interested in. He'll be able to sign the longest deal and make the most money with the Lakers, but you never know what kind of mindset he might have about the organization and his situation.