Pacers Sign Bynum for Rest of Season - View from a Bulls Fan

It was the correct thing for the Bulls to waive Bynum. I'm not saying it was correct for them to trade Luol Deng, but once Bynum was here, it was correct for them to waive him.

As reported by the great Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t indycornrows), the Pacers are signing Bynum for the rest of the season.

Ben Golliver of SI's Point Forward blog had this to say about the signing:

The Pacers lead the East at 35-10 and have All-Star Hibbert starting in the middle, with a capable backup in Ian Mahinmi. All-Star Paul George and David West play the bulk of the minutes at the forward positions, and the remaining frontcourt bench minutes are being handled nicely by the likes of Luis Scola, Danny Granger and Chris Copeland. ...

What Bynum brings to the table under these conditions, besides limited playing time in a reserve role and injury protection under a worst-case scenario, isn’t totally clear. The signing does prevent Bynum from joining the Heat, who added oft-injured center Greg Oden over the summer to shore up their weak interior.

I generally like the Point Forward blog, but I don't think it is giving the signing its proper due. While the blog points out that Mahinmi is a capable backup, Mahinmi doesn't have near the post game that Bynum does.

I'd go so far as to say that Bynum is the perfect signing for the Pacers, and not only because it prevents their main competition from signing him.

Bynum provides the ability to get point-blank buckets at key junctures of the game. He has done this on a consistent basis throughout his career, even with the Cavs. Here he is having a great game against the Bulls this year. That the Pacers are getting this capability from their bench is key.

This means that when David West is in foul trouble or guarded by the other team's tallest defender, the Pacers can go to Bynum for crunchtime buckets. One might argue that they already have Roy Hibbert and Luis Scola, but I'd argue that Hibbert is still a developing talent on the offensive end, whereas Bynum is a bit more polished; and even if they do have Hibbert, they now have yet another option to bring in. Scola's offensive game is limited, and he doesn't have the size or athleticism to be a dominant offensive player in the post.

Bynum is coming off of having missed multiple seasons due to knee injuries, but I'd argue that players can retain the footwork needed for offensive post play even after major injuries (see the youtube video of him against the Bulls, which I linked two paragraphs back). Additionally, the Pacers are expected to need Bynum only for spot duty, and not extended minutes. Against teams that run, he'll essentially be a pinch hitter for the offensive end, as the other team should be able to beat him in transition on a regular basis.

In these ways, the signing is one more stroke of luck (ok, there is also some skill involved) in favor of the Pacers' "perfect storm" that has developed over the last couple of seasons. This includes the Bulls' loss of Rose for two consecutive seasons, the incredible development of not one, but two perimeter players into stars (George and Stephens), and a bench that in theory could become as good as the Bull's famed benchmob of 2012 (just don't ask CJ Watson to make the right decision with a game / series on the line!). That the Pacers FO has done this while also avoiding the luxury tax is borderline miraculous.

Just as it was the right thing for the Bulls to waive Bynum, it seems like it is the right thing for the Pacers to sign him.

Meanwhile, as Bulls fans, we're just waiting for all the factors to play out in our hitting the reset button.

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