Los Angeles Lakers officials met on Wednesday to discuss their upcoming negotiations with center Andrew Bynum and his future with the team, knowing very well that the big man wants a max contract extension and isn't willing to settle for anything less, according to a report from Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com:
Bynum and his agent, David Lee, are scheduled to return from an Alaskan fishing vacation Wednesday. Lakers officials are set to meet Wednesday to discuss their negotiating strategy with Bynum before reaching out to his representative but are well aware that there will not be much wiggle room once the negotiations begin; Bynum will expect a max contract extension.
Bynum, who made $14.9 million last season, is set to make $16.4 million next season in the final year of his contract. The Lakers are making Kobe Bryant the highest paid player in the league next season at $27.8 million and owe over $38 million to Pau Gasol over the next two seasons. The team also has Metta World Peace under contract next season for $7.2 milliion with a player option worth $7.7 million for 2013-14, and signed Steve Nash this offseason to a three-year deal worth a reported $27 million.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets have recently been linked to trades involving Bynum and the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard, but Bynum is reportedly reluctant to sign a long-term deal with those teams once he becomes a free agent next summer. Selected No. 10 overall in the 2005 NBA Draft, Bynum has largely been inconsistent throughout his career, either because of injuries or reported attitude problems. On his career, he is averaging 11.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Despite his second season in which he appeared in all 82 games, Bynum has not played in more than 65 games in a season.