The Detroit Pistons re-signed Will Bynum today. Because he was a restricted free agent, this was inevitable for a while.
Bynum’s agent, Mark Bartelstein told Marc Stein of ESPN the deal is worth $10.5 million for three years. Chris Iott of MLive.com insists it’s a $9.75 million contract. (UPDATE: Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News also says it’s a $9.75 million contract.)* As long as that difference doesn’t cause a rift that delays the signing, I’m happy.
*All three of those reporters are usually credible. And I’d typically just take the word of two against one. But my guess is Iott and Goodwill got their info from the Pistons. The numbers the Pistons initially leaked for the Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva signings were lower than the actual contracts, so I don’t completely trust the team with this. I don’t have any reason not to trust Bartelstein, who told Stein $10.5 million. I’m curious what the Free Press reports, because its reporters have been in contact with Bartelstein and have Pistons contacts.
Bynum, 27, is a good backup point guard. I’ve said for a while that if he was a first-round pick and Rodney Stuckey was someone Detroit signed from Maccabi Tel Aviv, Bynum would start. I’m not sure I still believe that, but the case could be made.
Since coming to Detroit, Bynum has shown an ability to drive to the basket. At the beginning of last year, he looked much improved as a distributor, rebounder and on-ball defender.
But ankle injuries – yes, both ankles – derailed his season. When he returned, his all-around game had reverted to past-season form. His ability to drive was still there, at least.
I have serious questions about his ability to fight through screens, an essential skill in today’s game. And maybe his play at the beginning of last season was a fluke.
But a little more than $3 million per season is almost worth his ability to drive to the basket alone. If everything else comes together, Bynum is a steal. Heck, even if only some other parts of his game come together, he’s probably a steal.