First Dwight Howard, now Andrew Bynum. Another All-Star free agent center isn't coming to Dallas.
Almost all local and national reporters are confirming Bynum's agent David Lee informed Cleveland of the decision early this evening. Here are the contract specifics:
Andrew Bynum's deal w/ Cleveland will include $6 million of $12M guaranteed in year 1, league source says. Team option of $12.5M for 14-'15.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 10, 2013
What does this mean? Well, before making any other future moves (trading Shawn Marion, dumping Bernard James) the Mavericks had a little over $8 million in cap room. Dallas could have easily trumped Cleveland in guaranteed money, then traded Marion to offer more with incentives. So, I speculate, the Dallas training staff (regarded as one of the best medical staffs in the NBA) weren't sold on Bynum's health. And now he's a Cavalier.
Instant reaction? Strange, with a mixture of relief and depression. Bynum's attitude has never really shown well to most NBA watchers and his health issues have been well-documented. Even before the knee issues in Philadelphia, Bynum has always been plagued by injuries, a lock to miss 15-20 games a season.
When the Lakers won back to back titles, Bynum was either injured or a non-factor. The Lakers won with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom playing the major minutes up front, for what it's worth about Bynum's value.
But the temptation was obvious. After his second season, Bynum has posted a PER above 20 ever year, with true shooting percentages in the high 50s, low 60s. He's a dominant rebounder, a great shot blocker and a force to be reckoned with. He has an array of post moves around the basket, can finish in traffic and doesn't need other teammates to set him up.
There were always some concerns about his mobility on defense (watch Javale McGee run sprints past Bynum in the playoffs in 2012) and his worth ethic. But he's a basketball monster...when healthy.
That was obviously the difference for the Mavericks. The risk was too much for a franchise that can't sacrifice another year of Dirk's prime (even though they've already sacrificed two and about to sacrifice a third. IRONY.)
What now? How about the 32 year-old Samuel Dalembert? Sigh.