The Andrew Bynum saga that was rumored to end on Tuesday has rolled past the NBA free agency moratorium as teams remain wary of signing the often-injured center. The wait is expected to continue into Thursday but on Wednesday, it became clear how the Cleveland Cavaliers would approach the situation.
They went big by offering Bynum a $24 million deal for two years, but the contract has a few catches. The Cavs made the deal a simple team option for the second season. Cleveland is also only guaranteeing $6 million in the first season, or half of the annual salary.
The worry is Bynum's health after he missed all of last season with various knee injuries. He'll need to meet a "variety of incentive benchmarks," as ESPN's Marc Stein put it.
But again, the offer is on the table. That could help the Cavs in the longrun, according to Cavs blog Fear the Sword:
It's interesting to note that Stein maintains that this is still the best offer that Bynum has received. We'll see if it stays that way, but apparently Atlanta and Dallas are being as cautious as the Cavs.
Of course, the deal could still be worth up to $24 million. Bynum would just have to stay healthy and be productive. If Bynum's camp is confident that he'll stay healthy, then the Cavaliers are still making a pretty nice offer that no team appears to be willing to top.
Mavs eye backup to Bynum plan
The Dallas Mavericks met with Bynum after the Cavs and Atlanta Hawks, and they are likewise wary about his injury history. The front office and medical staff discussed the risk-reward of signing the big man on Wednesday, but they reportedly have a backup plan if they either miss on landing Bynum or decide not to offer him a deal at all.
ESPN's Marc Stein reports free agent center Samuel Dalembert will be a target for the Mavericks. Dalembert was a fine defensive presence off the bench for the Milwaukee Bucks last season but is expendable because of Larry Sander's emergence last year.
Brandan Wright back to Dallas?
Brandan Wright wants to be in Dallas and the feeling is mutual. But the Mavericks want to fill their center position with a player from another team before re-signing Wright. That's because Dallas owns the power forward's Early Bird rights and can creep over the salary cap when his contract -- one expected to be for multiple years worth well over the NBA average -- is signed, as ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon notes.
Brewer to T-Wolves in place
The Minnesota Timberwolves always wanted Corey Brewer, but they needed to find financial space for him with incoming shooting guard Kevin Martin expected to earn $30 million over four years. So in a move to sign both Brewer and Martin, they worked out a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks to take point guard Luke Ridnour's $4.3 million contract off the books.
The T-Wolves will acquire Martin in a sign-and-trade deal with Martin's former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, who will receive a trade exception in return.
Knicks interested in Tyrus Thomas
Tyrus Thomas and his hefty five-year, $40 million contract was amnestied from by the Charlotte Bobcats this past week in order for the team to sign center free agent Al Jefferson. He'll be a free agent on Friday if a team doesn't claim him off waivers -- that's unlikely -- and the New York Knicks are reportedly interested in signing him, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.