Potential Landing Spots, Trade Packages for Cavs Center Andrew Bynum
The big man has been suspended indefinitely "for conduct detrimental to the team," per an official team release on Cavs.com. According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears, the Cavs are now "determined to unload Andrew Bynum in a trade."
With questions surrounding both his health—bad knees cost him all of the 2012-13 season—and his desire, he's nowhere near the trade chip he once was.
In the summer of 2012, he was one of the prominent pieces involved in the four-team trade that sent him to the Philadelphia 76ers and perennial All-Star Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. But Bynum has been mired in a rapid decline ever since and may never again be the player who averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds for the Purple and Gold in 2011-12.
In fact, Fox Sports' Sam Amico reports that teams aren't interested in trading for him, and the Cavs will release him before his contract is guaranteed for anything more than $6 million.
Still, his size (7'0", 285 pounds) and skill could prove intriguing enough for yet another team to gamble on before he becomes available to the highest bidder. That, or his cap-friendly contract will become too intriguing to pass up for a team looking to shed salary.
Either way, the Cavs may still have something of value to shop on the trade market. But what exactly should they expect to find in return? And if Cleveland can't find what its after, which teams will be waiting for him to hit the waiver wire?
Landing Spot: Miami Heat
Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum on the same roster? How's that for doubling down on your training staff?
But, it could be a possibility.
The Heat rolled the dice on Oden's bad wheels for a reason. There are some monstrous frontcourts standing in Miami's path back to the podium.
The Heat don't have an answer to the Indiana Pacers' Roy Hibbert. Few teams do. But Miami's particularly vulnerable in the middle, a liability that could quickly become an asset if Oden or Bynum find that elusive clean bill of health.
Miami wouldn't be asking too much from Bynum. That might be just what he needs, particularly if concerns regarding his passion for the game are warranted. Miami's offense is at its best when it spreads the floor, so a space-eating big like Bynum would be nothing more than a part-time player.
But part-time players still get rewarded the same championship bling as anyone else. Just ask Juwan Howard.
Landing Spot: Los Angeles Clippers
If there's a weakness in the Los Angeles Clippers' championship plan, it exists in the frontcourt.
Although, not in the way most people think.
Coach Doc Rivers' starting bigs, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, draw the most scrutiny from L.A.'s doubters. But with Griffin putting up All-Star numbers (21.3 points, 10.6 rebounds) and Jordan making a compelling case for Defensive Player of the Year honors (13.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks), it's hard to see what the problem is.
The Clippers do indeed have an interior deficiency. But that doesn't come from Griffin and Jordan, it's the players behind them.
Antawn Jamison's basketball light is fading by the second (32.4 field-goal percentage). Byron Mullens (42.2) never had one to begin with. Ryan Hollins is decent, but severely limited in what he can add to this team.
A player like Bynum would give Jordan and Griffin the relief that they need. Not surprisingly, the Clippers are reportedly interested in bringing him in should he get released.
Bynum wouldn't necessarily put L.A. over the top, but he could help silence those critics.
Landing Spot: Golden State Warriors
At the very least, the Clippers have bodies to bring off the bench. The Golden State Warriors lost theirs when veteran center Jermaine O'Neal went under the knife in early December to correct a nagging wrist injury.
Sophomore center Festus Ezeli still isn't back from offseason knee surgery, and rookie Ognjen Kuzmic remains out with a hand fracture.
Bynum isn't exactly an ideal fit for the Dubs. He's a little too slow for Golden State's up-tempo attack even when he's working at full strength.
But Golden State doesn't have time to search for an ideal solution. There's no guarantee that the 35-year-old O'Neal will ever return. Ezeli is athletic and active, but he's raw. Kuzmic isn't even in the raw category yet.
With coach Mark Jackson struggling to find consistency from his second team, Bynum's scoring touch will be hard to ignore. And though the Dubs aren't listed as one of his preferred destinations, the fact that they share a division home with Bynum's old team, the Los Angeles Lakers, may make them more appealing than some other suitors.
If Bynum sees the chance to jab the Purple and Gold, rarely will he pass it up.
Landing Spot: Atlanta Hawks
Stop me if you've heard this one before—the Atlanta Hawks are at a crossroads. Seems like they've been there for a decade.
This is a franchise that's never quite good enough to contend, but too talented to break apart.
This could be the breaking point for Hawks general manager Danny Ferry. With no Horford, there's simply no hope to accomplish anything of substance.
Then again, this might be as bad as the Eastern Conference ever gets. If Atlanta is ever going to make a move, now would seem to be the time to strike.
Between Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Louis Williams, Atlanta has an intriguing collection of talent. But Horford's absence leaves a gaping void in the middle, one that Bynum could theoretically fill.
At the very least, he's a name that Ferry will have to consider. Ferry already lost one All-Star center this season; would he let another slip through his grasp on the waiver wire?
Landing Spot: Houston Rockets
If this wouldn't be the ultimate slap in the face for Lakers nation, I'm not sure what that would be.
Both of L.A.'s last two transcendent bigs together...and playing for the Houston Rockets.
But there's more than just a potential punchline here. Should Rockets general manager Daryl Morey find a taker for his own disgruntled center, Omer Asik, he'll then need to find a championship-caliber backup for Dwight Howard.
Conventional wisdom said Morey would need to find that player in the Asik deal. But if Bynum comes in from the waiver wire, then Morey can use his seven-foot trade chip to address one of Houston's other needs. Maybe he searches for a perimeter stopper, another stretch big or simply draft considerations to put to use down the line.
The point is, Morey would have options. And that's always good news for his Rockets.
With Howard chewing up the bulk of the minutes at center, Bynum could take it easy on his own body with limited playing time. If his knees are always going to be an issue, which it seems like they will, at least this setup lessens the damage being done.
The fact that he could pick up a championship ring in the process only sweetens the pot.
Trade Package: Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics Receive: C Andrew Bynum (two years, $24.8 million).
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: F Kris Humphries (one year, $12 million).
*Bynum is due just $6 million if he's waived by Jan. 7.
Why Boston Does It: Because the Celtics are in asset-acquisition mode, and Bynum still falls into that category both for his talent and his contract.
Boston's been better than advertised, but this team still severely lacks an interior presence. Rookie centers Vitor Faverani and Kelly Olynyk may one day be able to fill that void, but Bynum gives the Celtics another possibility to man the middle.
In order to become that player, Bynum would need to have the right attitude, which is never an easy hurdle for him to climb, but he's reportedly at least mildly interested in joining this franchise.
If Celtics team president Danny Ainge doesn't see Bynum as that kind of player, he can still use the trade to free $12 million in cap space by only having to fork up half the cash.
Why Cleveland Does It: Because Humphries doesn't restrict Cleveland's financial flexibility heading into a pivotal offseason, and the 28-year-old can handle the minutes that rookie forward Anthony Bennett clearly isn't ready to play.
If you forget about Humphries' contract and marriage history, he's not that bad of a player. He battles on the glass (career 11.0 rebounds per 36 minutes), has above-average athleticism and can score from inside and out.
He might not improve Cleveland's postseason chances, but he won't hurt them, either. He's a relatively safe acquisition—just what the Cavs could be searching for after this debacle.
Trade Package: Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls Receive: C Andrew Bynum (two years, $24.8 million), G Dion Waiters (three years, $13.1 million).
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: F Luol Deng (one year, $14.3 million).
*Waiters has a $5.1 million team option for 2015-16.
Luol Deng might be leaving on his own, as he's slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end. This deal not only allows Chicago to hold on to the cap space that Deng leaving would have brought—because with Joakim Noah, there's no reason to keep Bynum around—it also nets a the play-making scorer that Rose needs to have alongside him when he returns.
Waiters' ceiling still isn't set. The 22-year-old has seen dramatic improvements in both his field-goal (44.1 percent) and three-point (40.0) shooting in his sophomore season. Given his tremendous athletic gifts, he could become a two-way force under Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
Why Cleveland Does It: Because the small forward spot remains a weakness in coach Mike Brown's rotation.
Alonzo Gee (.402/.294 shooting) has second team skills, and Earl Clark is at best a three-point specialist (42.9 percent). Anthony Bennett doesn't have the speed or quickness to survive on the perimeter right now.
Luol Deng could be the kind of locker room presence that allows this team to realize its massive potential. He'll play Mike Brown-approved defense from day one, and could be the reliable secondary scorer (career 16.1 points per game) that Kyrie Irving doesn't have.
Deng doesn't have to be a part of Cleveland's future, but acquiring him now could give the Cavs a leg up in his free-agent bidding should they want to be involved.
Trade Package: Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks Receive: C Andrew Bynum (two years, $24.8 million).
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: C Samuel Dalembert (three years, $7.6 million), G Vince Carter (one year, $3.2 million), G Wayne Ellington (two years, $5.4 million) and a 2014 second-round pick (from Boston Celtics).
*Dalembert has an early termination option after 2013-14 season.
Why Dallas Does It: Because this is a playoff hopeful starting DeJuan Blair at center.
At some point, the Big D is going to have to play some defense. With four of the five starting spots held by offensive-minded players—Blair, Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon—this team desperately needs some semblance of rim protection.
The Mavericks were in on the Bynum summer sweepstakes, before eventually picking up the 32-year-old Dalembert. Dalembert has since lost his starting spot, and now that Dallas has seen 24 games out of Bynum, there's a chance that interest could be renewed.
Why Cleveland Does It: Because there isn't a bad contract in the bunch, the Cavs still wipe some money off their books and that second-round choice gives them more ammunition for this stacked draft.
Cleveland walks away without a difference-maker, but all three players have value.
Dalembert (career 1.8 blocks per game) gives the Cavs some rim protection that Anderson Varejao (0.7) can't provide. Carter (11.0 points, 34.5 three-point percentage this season) adds insurance for the off nights that Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles are going to have. Ellington (career 37.9 three-point percentage) further solidifies Cleveland's arsenal of shooters.
The Cavs would love to get both expiring contracts and future pieces, but given Bynum's recent history, they'll likely have to choose one or the other.
Trade Package: Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers Receive: C Andrew Bynum (two years, $24.8 million).
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: F Danny Granger (one year, $14 million).
Why Indiana Does It: Because one team's trash is sometimes another team's treasure.
This would take a convincing sell from Bynum to happen. If he isn't sold on the idea of backing up Roy Hibbert, then he isn't worth Indiana's time.
But should he sign off on it, the Pacers' league-best defense (93.4 points allowed per 100 possessions) would grow even stingier. Ian Mahinmi isn't a bad backup (6.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per 36 minutes), but he isn't Bynum, either. If coach Frank Vogel could go from Hibbert to an engaged Bynum, teams may never score inside against Indiana again.
If the Pacers don't want any part of the big man, they essentially save the last $8 million owed to Danny Granger.
Why Cleveland Does It: Because Granger is either more financial relief or a solution at the small forward spot. Maybe both.
Like Bynum, Granger is wiping off a year's worth of rust from his game. And like the big man, his medical history is more than a bit concerning.
He's played just eight games since the start of last season and hit just 26.3 percent of his shots during that stretch. But not too long ago, he was a steady stream of production, averaging 21.6 points from 2008-12.
There's absolutely a risk with Granger. But unlike Cleveland's current 3s, there's some hope for a reward, too.