The Economics Of Athletic Instability: The Case Of Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum was indefinitely suspended by the Cleveland Cavaliers for conduct detrimental to his team.

Upon hearing this news, numerous things flooded through my mind:

1) The Los Angeles Lakers showed some personnel acumen by dumping Bynum after the 2011-12 season, a decision which at the time was highly questioned by some given Bynum’s youth, potential, and completion of what was his first All-Star season.

2) Is it happenstance or strategic that Bynum’s lone All-Star season was in the year just before he was sent to Philadelphia?  Or is the fact that the Lakers decided to dump Bynum with one year left in his contract after the 2011-12 season DESPITE having the best season of his career a most telling indictment of what they thought of his motivation, determination, and drive?

3) How can I make millions of dollars by being inactive in my field and an under-motivated, lazy individual?

Bynum earned $16.1 million in 2012-13 playing for the 76ers, except he actually did NOT play for the Sixers because of his knees.  So skeptical of Bynum’s future were the 76ers that the Cavaliers were willing to take a chance.  Thankfully, either because of concerns about his knees and/or motivation, the Cavs 2-year deal worth nearly $25 million allowed for an out…and only $6 million of the contract is guaranteed as of now.  As noted here, the Cavs have until January 5th before being on the hook for more…so look for Bynum to either get dealt or be released outright.

Andrew Bynum has earned over $60 million to date playing professional basketball, and has earned 2 World Championship rings.  Let’s hope he’s been wise enough to save his money, because it would appear that NBA teams are now hip to his act.

As the case of Andrew Bynum has proven, talent and promise can make you a millionaire…but laziness and instability (be it physical or mental) will minimize one’s yield relative to their productive potential.


Patrick is an Economics Professor at the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University in St Louis, MO, and the Founder/Director of Sportsimpacts.  Follow him on Twitter.

Source: Forbes Business

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