Free agency moves on, and arguably the biggest name -- or at the least, the most intriguing -- is Andrew Bynum, who has the talent to be one of the league's biggest earners but hasn't showed the ability to be consistently healthy. Regardless, a few teams are still interested in taking a gamble on him, including the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Elsewhere, Marreese Speights and Will Bynum -- no relation -- are off the market, and Carmelo Anthony could be on the market sooner than Knicks fans would like to hear. Here's a roundup of the news that broke between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning:
Andrew Bynum's a gamble, but the Cavs are willing to take a modest one. They've got $15 million in cap space and are willing to offer the 7-footer who didn't play in a single game this past year good money right off the bat. The second year would be a team option, allowing the team to offer Bynum a second year if he turns out to be healthy.
Most teams are offering Bynum one-year deals, because his knees are such an unknown entity. That works out best for Bynum too: after averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds and earning his first trip to an All-Star Game in the 2011-12 season, he had hoped for big money on the free agent market this offseason. If he manages to be healthy and play well in 2013-14, he'd like to be able to earn big money next offseason, which the Cavs opting in would prevent him from doing. It's a risk for both sides, but a frontcourt of a healthy Bynum and Anderson Varejao alongside Kyrie Irving and No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett would be quite a squad.
The Cavaliers join the Mavs and Hawks as teams courting Bynum.
The Warriors nabbed an option that replaces a lot of what they lost in Carl Landry in Speights, heading into his fifth year in the NBA out of Florida. He's never gotten a significant amount of run -- he's only averaged over 20 minutes a game once, in 2011-12 in Memphis -- but he's managed to make his impression felt, averaging 10.2 points and 5.1 boards with the Cavaliers after they acquired him in a salary-based deal with Memphis. A 6'10 power forward whose best trait is his athleticism, he's a strong fit with Golden State, who will be looking for players who can get up and down the court and don't need the ball in their hands a lot to score.
The New York Knicks would like Chauncey Billups to join a point guard rotation featuring Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni, replacing the veteran leadership now-Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd brought last season. The problem: The 36-year-old who played half a season in New York after the Carmelo Anthony trade wants more than the minimum salary, which is pretty much all they'd be capable of offering, due to salary cap woes in part created by the ill-advised decision to pick up Billups' option for the 2011-12 season and then amnesty him to bring in Tyson Chandler. Ohhhhh, irony.
Also under consideration: Raja Bell, who would probably be willing to play for the veteran's minimum after being told by the Utah Jazz his services wouldn't be needed last year.
In less interesting Bynum-related news, the Pistons brought back Will Bynum to fill a backup point guard role with Jose Calderon leaving for Dallas. Bynum has played almost his entire NBA career with Detroit, save a 15-game stint with the Golden State Warriors in 2005-06, and should be a decent third option behind Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey. The 6'0 Georgia Tech product averaged 9.8 points and 3.6 assists in just 18.8 minutes per game last year.
Carmelo Anthony drama with Lakers possibly upcoming
The new theme of the NBA is waiting eagerly on the decisions of restless superstars with upcoming free agencies or opt-out clauses. In 2010, it was LeBron James, of course. In 2011, it was Carmelo Anthony, with the Nuggets eventually deciding to deal him midseason to the Knicks, where he took an extension. In 2012, it was Dwight Howard. This past year, it was Dwight Howard again. Is it Melo's turn once more?
Marc Berman of the New York Post speculates that Anthony could decline the Knicks' likely overtures to extend him again this February, when they'd be allowed to do so by the CBA, and that if so, he could opt out after the season, his first real free agency. Then, the Lakers could target him with the money they aren't spending on Dwight Howard to woo Kobe. This is the NBA news cycle, everybody.
Chris "Birdman" Andersen set to fly again with Miami Heat
Chris Andersen's career has had rises and dips, but he seems to have found a home with the Miami Heat: Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the 35-year-old center known for his tattoos, hairdo, and, yes, strong rim defense and surprisingly efficient scoring will "likely" be back with the defending NBA champs next year.
Once a dunk contest competitor, once kicked out of the league for positive drug tests for two years, Andersen went from working out at home to playing for a title contender last year when the Heat came calling. He quickly adapted, playing superbly in the postseason and averaging over a block a game and connecting on a ridiculous 80.7 percent of his field goals. He seemed to vibe with the team's mentality and CERTAINLY seemed to enjoy winning an NBA title. He was willing to do whatever the team needed, and he was a quick fan favorite, so both sides are likely interested in bringing him back for cheap.
Jason Collins in "preliminary discussions" with teams
Jason Collins' offseason might be the most eagerly anticipated free agency period of any 34-year-old defensive-minded center to average 1.1 points per game in the history of the NBA. Collins, of course, became the first active openly gay player in one of America's four major sports in April after his season with the Wizards ended. This led to speculation that Collins' relatively low free agency stock would either increase or decrease due to his historic and unique position in the league. Per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Collins hasn't gotten close to signing with a team yet, but his lack of activity on the market thus far has nothing to do with his sexuality. Rather, it's just the nature of backup centers at this point in the offseason: they generally have to wait for bigger blocks to fall before picking a squad. There was talk of the Brooklyn Nets being interested in bringing back Collins, but that seems to have fallen through as of now.