Indianapolis, IN, United States (4E Sports) – The Indiana Pacers have beefed up their frontline by signing center Andrew Bynum for the remainder of the season.
Sources said the Pacers will pay Bynum $1 million for the remainder of the season. He will join the team next week and will back up All-Star Roy Hibbert along with Ian Mahinmi.
With featuring power forwards David West and Luis Scola, the Pacers have some of the best depth in the NBA at the big man positions.
“We are obviously happy to have him join our team,” Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said in a release. “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.”
Bynum said he picked the Pacers over the Miami Heat because they have a roster spot and space under the salary cap to add him now, aside from having the best chance of winning.
“It really wasn’t a hard decision, I think it’s the right fit for me,” Bynum said in a statement. “In all honesty, I think we’ve got the best chance of winning. It will be great to back up Roy, and I’ll do whatever I can to help this team.”
The Pacers have a three-game lead over the Heat for the East’s best record. The Heat beat the Pacers in seven games in last season’s Eastern Conference finals.
The Heat could have outbid the Pacers for Bynum because they had all of their mid-level exception of $3 million to spend.
However, the Heat currently have a full roster of 15 players and a luxury-tax bill of $15 million, meaning creating room for and signing Bynum would have been expensive.
Bynum averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 24 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. The Cavs traded him to the Chicago Bulls with two future draft picks for Luol Deng on Jan. 7.
The Bulls, in a salary-saving move, released Bynum the next day before the second half of his $12 million contract became guaranteed.