Andrew Bynum will choose his third NBA team -- and hopefully, the second team he'll actually wear a uniform for -- on Tuesday, as CBS Sports' Ken Berger reports that the 25-year-old center with knee issues will decide between offers from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks.
Bynum averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds in the 2011-2012 season with the Los Angeles Lakers and made his first All-Star Game, but after being dealt in the Dwight Howard trade to the Philadelphia 76ers, repeated knee issues kept him from ever playing a game. The inability to take the court this past year is scary, but it's outweighed by the promise the 7-footer shows, an increasingly refined scorer and a strong rebounder in his time with the Lakers, if a bit of a petulant personality. Thus, teams are still willing to roll the dice.
Each of the three teams offers an intriguing front-court mate. In Cleveland, it's Anderson Varejao, the floppy-haired Brazilian who averaged 14.1 points and 14.5 rebounds last year before ending his season due to a scary blood clot. In Dallas, it's Dirk Nowitzki, the sweet-shooting German who led the Mavs to a title in 2011 and is looking to take a salary cut next season to partner himself with a pair of stars in hopes of appearing on one more contender. And in Atlanta, it's Al Horford, who averaged career bests of 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds, as well as recently signed Paul Millsap, a trio that might be the best in the league if assembled and healthy.
But more important than teammates for Bynum is his potential future in the league. After making nearly $17 million this past year, Bynum had been hoping to be a max-level player, or close, this offseason. Knee issues obviously prevent any team from taking a risk that large on him, but his hope is to prove in the next year that he's worthy of one of those deals. It's not clear what the Mavs and Hawks are offering, but the Cavs have apparently put a two-year, $24 million contract on the table, with a team option for a second year. That could hamper his ability to get paid next offseason if he's as good as promised without offering him stability if he can't play, but it's expected all three teams are offering heavily incentive-laden deals.
No surprise, but the Philadelphia 76ers seem not involved, ending any possibility that he might suit up for the team that gave up Andre Iguodala to bring him in.