The Pacers got bigger and that is sure to make the Miami Heat a little more nervous.
Indiana made the bold move of signing Andrew Bynum for the rest of the season Saturday, adding the often-injured but mercurial 7-footer to their collection of hard-nosed defnders with championship aspirations. There is little worry however that this move will disrupt the Pacers great chemistry or its league-best record.
Pacers general manager Larry Bird told Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star the following about this acquisition:
We've got protection for Roy (Hibbert) and Ian (Mahinmi) and we'll see how it works out. I think it's a great upside for us, we don't do anything that we don't think is going to help us and I think this is going to help us.
The way these guys roll around here, I think they can handle themselves. They control their own locker room. That never really entered into my mind. They're big boys. They know what their goals are and if Andrew can come in here and help them, it'll be much appreciated.
Bynum is on a minimum contract, so the risk is minimal. If the Pacers need to cut him for whatever reason, they can.
Bynum averaged 20.0 minutes per game in 24 appearances for the Cavaliers this year. He averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game — about 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes. Bynum was traded from Cleveland to Chicago as part of the Luol Deng deal. The Bulls unceremoniously waived Bynum shortly after the deal was completed.
He obviously has the talent and the size to be an effective player. And in a more limited role for the Pacers, he could return to playing for a championship team at a near championship level. The Pacers will be asking him to spell Roy Hibbert and provide a defensive presence. Really nothing more. If he can fulfill that role, the Pacers become that much more difficult to beat.
The Heat, the Pacers' key competition in the Eastern Conference, do not have the size to match up with two former All Stars at center. Right now, Chris Bosh starts at center and he struggles with Hibbert. Now the Heat have to rely on Chris Andersen and Greg Oden at center to match up with Hibbert, Bynum and Ian Mahimni.
This was a move to make sure the Pacers could continue to exploit the Heat's biggest weaknesses.
Miami is on notice once again.