While the Miami Heat have been rumored to be interested in Andrew Bynum since he was unloaded by the Chicago Bulls, it was Miami’s arch rival in the East, the Indiana Pacers, that signed the big man.
Many speculated that the Heat would sign Bynum to counter the size of Indiana’s Roy Hibbert. Instead, the Heat didn’t move on him after he cleared waivers.
After sitting around for awhile, he signed with Pacers Saturday morning.
The question is: Do the Pacers really feel like they needed Bynum, or did they feel like they needed to keep him from Miami? No one except those in connection with the Pacers knows the answer to that.
“We are obviously happy to have him join our team,” Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird told NBA.com. “He gives us added size, he is a skilled big man and he has championship experience. With the minutes he gets, he should be a valuable addition.”
Those minutes he speaks of will be off the bench, backing up Hibbert. The signing of the 7-1, 285-pound center ensures that if Hibbert gets in foul trouble, Indiana still has one of the biggest centers in the league to go to.
What this means for Miami is that even if they get Hibbert in early foul trouble, as has been their strategy in meetings this season, Indiana can still bring out Bynum in limited minutes.
Bynum isn’t close to the rim protector that Hibbert is, but he is arguably a better offensive player (definitely, should he get his sh1t together), and will still effect Miami’s ability to drive.
What it also means for Miami is that they will have to rely on Greg Oden in the Eastern Conference Finals in some way, shape or form.
Miami’s strategy will still be to stretch the floor and use ball and off-ball movement to get Indiana’s bigs out of position.
However, they will have to bang bodies at some point. That’s what Oden is for.
The Heat are prepared to battle Indiana in this way, but I’m not sure they saw this coming. Bynum signing with the Pacers could be a rub-your-forehead kind of moment for Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra.
Bynum signing in Indiana isn’t going to win the East for the Pacers, but if they can get a few good minutes from him, he could make a difference. (Hey, that sounds like what the Heat need from Oden!)
One thing we know for sure, the Pacers are all in. That’s why they won’t trade Danny Granger, and it’s why they signed Bynum.
Add one more storyline to the ECF. This should be fun.