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Report: Pacers become latest team to express interest in Andrew Bynum

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 30: Andrew Bynum #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers smiles wide following the victory over the Chicago Bulls at The Quicken Loans Arena on November 30, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

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When Andrew Bynum was traded from the Cavaliers to the Bulls and then immediately waived in a move to shed salary, several teams, including the Miami Heat, reportedly expressed initial interest in acquiring his services.

The East is unquestionably going to come down to a battle between the Heat and the Pacers, so Indiana must keep close tabs on any potential personnel changes that may be looming in Miami that could widen the talent gap and put the Heat in a stronger position to reach the Finals for a fourth straight season.

It makes sense, then, that the Pacers have joined the list of interested parties where Bynum is concerned.

Andrew Bynum latest: Hear Clips leaning away from idea of signing Bynum for now AND that Indy is among teams to express exploratory interest

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 12, 2014


The Pacers are such a problem for the Heat because of the size of Roy Hibbert, who dominates in stretches on both ends of the floor when the two teams are matched up. No one on Miami’s roster can legitimately guard Hibbert, and defensively he protects the rim from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade better than just about any of the league’s individual defenders.

Adding another seven-footer in Bynum may push Indiana over the top against the Heat, and on Miami’s side, Bynum (if engaged) could be enough of a counter against Hibbert to lessen the Pacers’ very real threat. The Heat already have Greg Oden, however, who appears to be getting closer to a return and by all accounts has looked very strong in workouts.

Stein also reported that no formal offer has been made by the Pacers, and that’s the way it should remain -- unless it appears that the Heat may be getting close to pulling the trigger, at which time Indiana will strongly need to consider the option.