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Lakers' Jim Buss reportedly open to Andrew Bynum trade

Andrew BynumEvery time Jim Buss speaks, it seems he can never stop bragging about Andrew Bynum.

The Lakers executive lets everyone know he was instrumental in the Lakers selecting the young center with their 10th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. Buss gushes how Bynum's presence has helped the Lakers the last few seasons despite his extensive injuries. And through various media reports, Laker insiders had indicated Buss remains adamantly against trading Bynum.

Until now.

CBS Sports' Ken Berger reports that Buss "finally has dropped his opposition to trading center Andrew Bynum 'for the right deal.' That’s code for 'a deal for Dwight Howard,' and it’s clear from those familiar with Howard’s thinking that he’d like to join the Lakers."

Howard's given off various signals he'd love to play in L.A., touting the city's warm weather and acknowledging he'd most want to play alongside Kobe Bryant. But don't consider this news nugget a definitive sign that Howard will wear the purple & gold. It requires the Magic to want to deal Howard to the Lakers, and it remains unclear if they'd want Bynum because of his injury history.

But this revelation still proves important, because it shows Buss' apparent willingness to shed some of his blind allegiance toward Bynum. No longer does it appear the Lakers will hinge on Bynum becoming their franchise player.  That doesn't mean the Lakers shouldn't still value him. His presence alone gave the Lakers a distinguishable advantage in the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. But there's a clear difference between Bynum and Howard. Bynum's potential appears to be growing, but hasn't been fully tapped. Howard, meanwhile, remains above and beyond the league's best center.

When it comes to finding the next player to carry the Lakers in the post-Bryant era, it's crucial Buss doesn't allow his fascination with Bynum to get in the way of that process. Now we'll see how he reacts once such a deal arrives on Mitch Kupchak's desk.

RELATED:

Who would you be willing to give up to get Dwight Howard?

Lakers still need to be cautious about Andrew Bynum

Lakers shouldn't pin Andrew Bynum as their franchise player

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Andrew Bynum. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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