Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times that the team will pick up Andrew Bynum's $16.1 million team option for the 2012-13 season.
Kupchak told the Times, "He's the starting center on the West All-Star team. Why wouldn't we do everything we could to keep him here?"
The move comes as no surprise. Bynum is in the middle of a career year, and has shown no signs of slowing.
In his sixth NBA season, Bynum is averaging career highs in points (18.1), rebounds (12.9) and minutes (36.2), and has played in 41 of the Lakers' 45 games. (He missed the first four games of the season due to suspension.)
Prior to this season, Bynum had played in more than 65 games just once, as a 19-year-old in 2006-07.
Los Angeles is 28-17 this year, 1 1/2 games up on the Clippers in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference.
Bynum has scored at least 30 points three times in March, including a season-high 37 in a 116-111 win against the Grizzlies on March 13. The Lakers are 7-3 this month.