Andrew Bynum: Why Cleveland Is the Most Sensible Destination for Lakers Center
But he's still worth the risk. As Bynum will see, ending up in Cleveland isn't the worst thing that could happen to him. And on Cleveland's end, there's always a chance he could change his mind.
According to recent reports, a blockbuster trade involving Dwight Howard is closer than ever to coming into fruition. Howard is willing to sign a long-term extension with the Lakers if he's traded to L.A., and that was the biggest roadblock in a potential deal.
Of course, nothing is certain yet. The Lakers may still have to agree to take on some salary that they're not happy about, and details may still need to be worked out with a third team—most likely Cleveland, according to FoxSports.com's Joe McDonnell.
If a deal went through, McDonnell reports, Howard would go to L.A. (possibly along with an undesirable salary dump), Bynum would go to Cleveland and Anderson Varejao—plus picks and/or prospects—would go to Orlando.
Sounds like a good plan, right? Not quite. ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne report that Bynum, whose return from a fishing trip with his agent is imminent, isn't willing to sign long-term with Cleveland, which could put an end to any and all negotiations.
The Cavs might not be willing to give up Varejao and a package of prospects and picks if they're only getting Bynum—and his $16.4 million price tag—for one season. But maybe they should think about going ahead with the deal, anyway.
Should the Cavs take on Andrew Bynum without a guarantee he'll sign an extension?
Chances are, Bynum isn't going to be a Laker when the 2012-13 season starts. Given all of his possible trade destinations—which, according to various rumors, have included Orlando, Houston and Brooklyn in addition to Cleveland—the Cavs aren't too bad of a trade-off.
Cleveland's team is currently built around two very bright young stars in reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving and Alonzo Gee. The Cavaliers just drafted two more bright young stars in Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller. Granted, nobody knows if they'll be in a possible package of the prospects headed to Orlando in a trade, but it's clear that this team is headed in the right direction.
And with Bynum in the mix, it might actually be able to compete sooner rather than later.
The Cavs were terrible last year, and nobody's disputing it. But at the same time, given their core of young talent—which would doubtlessly grow leaps and bounds wit the acquisition of Bynum—they aren't far from being a true contender. And if and when Bynum sees that firsthand over the course of the next season, he might change his tune on whether or not he'll agree to an extension.
Or he may not. But even if he doesn't, the Cavs essentially get the second-best center in the NBA on loan for a year. In a league where elite centers are growing more and more impossible to find, that's not too shabby a deal, either.
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