Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: N/A
Andrew Bynum was an incredibly big gamble for the Cleveland Cavaliers, except that he actually wasn't.
At first glance, a two-year deal worth $25 million seems like way too much money to spend on a 7-footer who just missed an entire season.
But then you look more carefully and realize that the deal is in no way guaranteed. Only $6 million of his 2013-14 salary is guaranteed, and the second year is fully non-guaranteed. So if Bynum doesn't pan out, his contract doesn't really hurt the Cavs.
That said, I actually have confidence that Bynum will be a good investment for this up-and-coming team in the Eastern Conference.
His activities and quotes throughout the offseason make it seem like he's taking the rehabilitation process much more seriously than he did with the Philadelphia 76ers. While he hasn't been cleared for full basketball activities yet, there's still a long way to go before he's expected to contribute.
The rest of the frontcourt rotation eases the pressure on Bynum as well. Thanks to Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, Anthony Bennett and Tyler Zeller, there's no need for him to rush back, and he won't be counted on for major minutes until he's proven his health.
It's a great situation for the Cavs, and it's the definition of a "win/win" scenario. Literally the worst thing that could happen is Bynum costing the team $6 million and failing to make an impact as the rest of the playoff-caliber talent carries the squad.
The biggest reason that this is still labeled as a "bet" is simply that signing Bynum prevented the Cavs from getting a veteran who would be more of a sure thing. His contract still counted against the salary cap enough that it prohibited other moves, and that's what could still come back to bite Cleveland.
Just keep him away from Cleveland's bowling alleys.