Lakers exercise option on Andrew Bynum’s contract for next season

Tomorrow’s story tonight …

As expected, the Lakers announced Monday they would pick up their option on All-Star center Andrew Bynum’s contract for next season. Bynum will make $16,473,002 in 2012-13, his eighth season in the NBA.

General manager Mitch Kupchak said days after the Lakers’ ouster from the playoffs last month that he intended to exercise the team’s option on Bynum. He would not address questions about a long-term extension for the 7-footer, however.

Bynum set career bests by averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds in 60 injury-free games during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. He also was selected to start for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.

His season was not without incident, however.

Bynum was benched for most of the second half of a March 27 game against the Golden State Warriors after taking an ill-advised 3-point shot. He also was fined after blowing off a meeting with Kupchak several days later to discuss his immature attitude.

The Lakers’ commitment to him remains strong, however.

“I think he can be a cornerstone to our organization,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said of Bynum at the team’s exit interviews last month. “But you have to remember that Andrew is still learning what he’s (eventually) going to be.”

When asked what he must do to take the next step in his career, Bynum said last month, “Have a presence, an aura that demands my teammates’ respect if I’m going to have that superstar-type career.”

In other news, The Lakers announced they signed radio announcers John Ireland and Mychal Thompson to multi-year contract extensions. Ireland just completed his first season as play-by-play announcer and Thompson his ninth as color analyst. … The Charlotte Bobcats interviewed Lakers assistant Quin Snyder for their vacant head-coaching position, The Associated Press reported. Snyder completed his first season on Brown’s staff in 2011-12.

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