In Andrew Bynum, the Lakers have a 23-year-old center who already ranks among the best in the league at his position, and is still getting better. Based on that alone, you would think that Bynum would be untouchable in any trade scenario. But yesterday the news broke that the Lakers and Nuggets were talking a trade for Carmelo Anthony and Bynum was at the center of the deal. Even if the Lakers shot it down, just the mention of the trade is significant.
Rohan Cruyff just wrote an excellent feature on SB Nation about what these rumors mean about the Lakers relationship with Andrew Bynum.
In many ways, that's been a recurring theme in Bynum's career. Being a talented player in Los Angeles guarantees media oversaturation. To solely comment on Bynum's fame given his arguably disproportional impact, however, is to overlook his history and relationship with the Lakers.
Try to get past all the big words in there, because I promise it means something. What Rohan is saying is that even if Andrew Bynum never reaches the heights people of expect of a Lakers center with so much talent, he is still more important to this team than someone he can bring back in a trade. Maybe this section explains it better.
As much as perception of the NBA is star-driven, franchises don't win titles without impeccable team construction. The Lakers' ability to rotate height for height is one of their most crucial strengths. Put simply? Bynum (and not "theoretical future Bynum") fits. Bynum's current value to the Lakers is firmly rooted in that fact and outstrips the theoretical value he'd provide by coming closer to his ceiling ... whatever that is these days.
Andrew Bynum, because of the injuries and other things, may never become the player that everyone expects and wants him to be. But because of the position he plays, and the way in which he plays it, he is extremely important to the Lakers hopes for a Championship.