The rumors have been heard before in the recent past, but it was never to the point where the major media outlets were picking it up. Because of this, I would just see the rumor and move on, dreaming about the possibilities if this were to actually happen. Until, this alert was sent to my phone:
The biggest problem that I have with ESPN is that they take too long. There will be many sources that come out with a story or a rumor, a good amount of time before ESPN. I understand that they have to be 100% sure about a report before they can present it, so there isn’t much that could be done to solve this. The positive to this means that it is legit.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a growing interest in free agent center Andrew Bynum. They should be, as there continues to be a great need for another big man, and there is still a large amount of cap space available. After the recent signings of Jarrett Jack and Earl Clarke, the Cavaliers are left with around $15 million in cap space. $12-$15 million could be the offer to go to Bynum, if – and this can’t be stressed enough – he is HEALTHY.
Why the Cavaliers Fit
The Cavaliers have the opportunity to offer Andrew Bynum a one-year deal at a pretty high price, in hopes of convincing Bynum to play the one year to obtain a larger contract next summer. Because of next summer’s free agency class, it can be said that the Cavs will only offer a one year deal to Bynum. At most, a team option could be thrown in for the second year, which opens up more possibilities involving the trade deadline. They can offer Bynum the most money, and it has been said that Bynum is intrigued by the idea of playing with rising Cavalier star Kyrie Irving. There is a need at center for the Cavs. Bynum, when healthy, is capable of averaging around 18 and 10 per game. He has the defensive capability to match up with any center in the league, something the Cavs desperately need in a division with Roy Hibbert and Joakim Noah. His offensive ability will open up shots and lanes for Dion Waiters and Irving. And arguably the biggest reason as to why Andrew Bynum fits on this Cavaliers team: Mike Brown. The last full season Bynum was healthy was Brown’s first as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Take a look at Bynum’s numbers under his only season with Brown:
18 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. He missed 6 games all season. At times it looked like Bynum and Brown were not working together. But, the numbers do not lie. With a manageable free throw percentage, a solid field goal percentage, and that 18, 11 and 2 trio, this is looking like at worst a Top 5 center in the league. Pairing that with Irving and the growing core of Waiters, Thompson and now Bennett, it presents a very nice possibility of playing basketball into May. None of this matters though, if Bynum is not healthy. It can’t be forgotten that he did not play a single game with the 76ers last season.
Other possible landing spots for Bynum consist of the Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks.
Why the Mavericks Fit
The Mavericks are also a contender for Bynum. Like the Cavs, Dallas has a high amount of cap availability. They have Dirk Nowitzki, a future Hall of Famer and a player with fuel left in the tank. They have Mark Cuban. A billionaire owner who is not afraid to spend money and has the want to make Bynum the future centerpiece of the franchise. Unlike Cleveland, Dallas is willing to offer a multi-year contract to Bynum. Something you have to believe interests him. The possibility of playing with a player like Kyrie and competing for the playoffs in the weaker Eastern Conference should be more appealing to Bynum though. And the opportunity to show that he is healthy and can play a full season could present even more money next summer, which is possible with a one-year deal in Cleveland.
Why the Hawks Fit
Atlanta has come into the off-season looking to leave Playoff Purgatory. They have emptied the books on their franchise. They traded Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams. They have a new front office with ex-Cavs GM Danny Ferry, and lost Josh Smith to Detroit. What they do have, is a bunch of money, and a very good piece in Al Horford. The Hawks can offer Bynum a multi-year deal at a big number, and can move Horford to power forward to make room for Bynum, putting a very nice frontline duo in the ATL. But, like Dallas, they do not have the young core that Cleveland does, or a superstar like Kyrie.
This all comes down to two things: health and money. If a team knows he is healthy, Andrew Bynum is worth the risk 100%. If there are question marks, the team should stay away. The other comes down to what Bynum wants. After Dwight Howard, Bynum is now the most sought after free agent. How he makes his decision will tell a lot about him. If he wants the money immediately, he would choose a team like Dallas. If he wants to present himself with the chance to win while setting himself up for more money, Cleveland is the clear choice. It all comes down to those knees.