Mavericks pursuing Andrew Bynum, according to report

Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

The Mavericks will need to play it safe with Andrew Bynum, but they're interested in the 25-year-old seven-footer with Dwight Howard officially headed to Houston. Bynum hasn't played since the 2011-2012 season due to knee issues.

With Dwight Howard eliminating the Dallas Mavericks relatively early in his topsy-turvy free agency process, Mark Cuban's squad is still looking to make a splash on the free agency market. That splash could be Andrew Bynum, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Bynum was the second-most prominent player in the trade that had previously sent Howard to Los Angeles, although he ended up never playing a game for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Dallas has already used some of the cap room that would have gone to Howard, signing Jose Calderon to a four-year, $28 million deal and giving them a talented veteran point guard for at least a few years. Now, they're turning to potential pick-and-roll partners, and with Howard off the market, Bynum could very well be the best big available.

We already knew about Dallas' interest in taking a gamble on Bynum. But with Howard out of the picture, that interest is cemented. Marc Stein of ESPN wrote that the Mavs' desire to bring Bynum in is "legit," although they will make him go through testing to ensure his knees are healthy.

Bynum's free agent potential took a huge hit over the last calendar year. Knees had always been an issue for the talented youngster, but he'd still averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in 2011-2012 for a Lakers team that finished first in their division. He earned his first All-Star bid and was pretty damn good, as good as any seven-footer in the league, especially at just 24 years of age.

Starting fresh with the Sixers, it seemed like he'd have a great opportunity. But as you can see by following SB Nation's Andrew Bynum injury StoryStream, short setbacks and procedures that were supposed to put him out for a week or two, or until late November, or until early December, eventually turned into an injury that would keep him out for the entire year.

That's a huge issue. Big men with knee issues tend to continue to have knee issues. So Dallas will play it safe, but it seems as if they are indeed interested.

They have reason to be interested after a year they didn't get a whole bunch from the center spot. Chris Kaman, playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki, was sixth on the team in scoring, averaging 10.5 points per game. Elton Brand, his former teammate on the Clippers, was the only other player resembling a center on the roster for the majority of the season, scoring 7.2 points per game.

Pairing Nowitzki alongside a post player with scoring and rebounding capabilities would give Dallas one of the most indefensible offensive frontcourts in the league. Of course, Bynum has to be able to play for that to matter.

More from SB Nation:

Howard picks Rockets | Floyd: Don’t blame Howard for circus

Roth: Why Dwight Howard annoys everyone

J.R. Smith returns to NY | The Knicks are reunited!

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