EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -The Los Angeles Lakers signed Andrew Bynum to a contract extension Thursday, removing the possibility the 21-year-old center would become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
``We're extremely happy to have signed Andrew to this extension, which will secure his immediate future with the franchise,'' Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. ``Andrew has shown a vast array of skills for a player his size and if he continues to stay dedicated and work hard to improve, he has an excellent chance to develop into one of the top players in the NBA.''
Bynum, the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft, will make $2.8 million this season. If an agreement hadn't been reached by Friday, the Lakers wouldn't have been able to negotiate with him until after the season and he would have become an unrestricted free agent.
getting this new contract signed,'' Bynum said. ``This gives me and my family financial security, and more importantly, cements my future with the Lakers, which in my opinion is the best organization in all of professional sports. I couldn't be happier.''
Bynum's agent, David Lee, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
Bynum, a 7-foot, 285-pounder, established himself as one of the NBA's up-and-coming big men last season before having season-ending knee surgery Jan. 13. He averaged 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.06 blocked shots in 35 games, 25 of them starts, before being injured.
The Lakers reached the NBA finals without him, losing to the Boston Celtics in six games.
Bynum appears healthy now, making his team a solid favorite to win its first championship since 2002. He's averaging 7.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in his career.
Bynum became the youngest player to be drafted in NBA history when the Lakers selected him following his graduation from St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J.

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Trail Blazers vs. Lakers Prediction Are the Lakers a good bet as a home underdog tonight when they take on the Trail Blazers at 9:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Grizzlies vs. Warriors Prediction The Warriors are double-digit home favorites tonight against the Grizzlies at 8:00PM ET. Will Golden State cover?
Thumbnail Pelicans vs. Nuggets Prediction Will the Pelicans pull off the upset tonight against the Nuggets in Denver at 8:00PM ET?
Thumbnail 76ers vs. Pacers Prediction The 76ers will visit the Pacers at 6:00PM ET and have cashed all year long for bettors, but will Philly cover again tonight?
Thumbnail Heat vs. Celtics Prediction Will the Celtics cover as a home favorite this evening when they host the Heat at 6:00PM ET?

NBA Team Pages