After being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Philadelphia 76ers, then sitting out the entire 2012-13 season because of continuing knee problems, Andrew Bynum finally has a long term home. The free agent center has reached a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.
The contract is reportedly for two years and $24 million, but isn't without a catch. Only $6 million is guaranteed in the first year and the second season is a team option, according to reports.
Once viewed as a franchise-changing big man, Bynum’s value came under scrutiny after sitting out the past season. Not only did he fail to reward Philadelphia for trading away swingman Andre Iguodala and three draft picks, but Bynum’s personal decisions also hurt his stock. Injuring himself while bowling and from afar appearing disinterested in trying to work his way back, the big man added question marks to whether or not he was worth a max deal -- no matter his championship resume when healthy.
The Sixers believed Bynum would play this past season until he finally conceded and shut himself down in March. Bynum then underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees. With Philadelphia working under new general manager Sam Hinkie, it was never clear whether they had interest in re-signing the big man. The draft-day trade that netted Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, however, alluded to the Sixers moving on from Bynum.
Owner Dan Gilbert wanted to win now, and it’s a real possibility should Bynum stay healthy for a season. The Cavs already have some nice projects in Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson, but for whatever messes they make, Bynum should be able to clean up. Perhaps the more intriguing possibility is the duo of Bynum and 2013 first overall pick Anthony Bennett.
While he could play as a small forward, Bennett might be more natural at the power forward position at this point, and his ability to pull defenses out of the paint with his shooting could help Bynum do some damage inside.