Andrew Bynum shouldn't have trouble finding a new home.
UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 9, at 8:53 p.m. ET by Joe Flynn
ESPN's Marc Stein reports that Bynum is officially a free agent.
Andrew Bynum, as of 6 PM ET, has cleared waivers and is officially a free agent— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 10, 2014
Let the games begin!
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UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 12:00 p.m. ET by Dan Favale
ESPN's Marc Stein reveals one of the potential teams interested in Bynum:
Mavericks, I'm told, are among those eight teams to register interest in free agent-to-be Andrew Bynum. But Mavs only have minimum to offer— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 8, 2014
Dallas could certainly use frontcourt depth, allowing it to guarantee Bynum ample playing time. If he's willing to sign at the veteran's minimum, keep an eye on this one.
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UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 10:30 a.m. ET by Dan Favale
ESPN's Chris Broussard says there may be more suitors for Bynum than we initially thought:
I'm told 8 teams are interested in signing A Bynum, most notably Heat & Clips. Playing time, contender status & $ all factors in decision.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) January 8, 2014
Eight seems a bit steep, but we cannot rule anything out. Place a 7-footer in front of NBA teams, and they're usually smitten—even if said 7-footer is prone to stretches of lethargy and disinterest.
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The Cleveland Cavaliers sent their disgruntled big man, along with future draft picks, to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for two-time All-Star Luol Deng on Jan. 6. The Bulls intend to waive Bynum, per ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst, at which point he is expected to enter free agency where a number of different suitors await.
Windhorst has the details:
Chicago plans to waive Bynum by 5 p.m. Tuesday and clear his $12.3 million salary off their books. That will enable the Bulls to get below the luxury-tax threshold, which, combined with the savings from not having to pay Deng the balance of his $14.3 million salary, will save the team more than $20 million.
Bynum is expected to clear waivers and become a free agent by the end of the week. Though he was suspended by the Cavs for one game for conduct detrimental to the team and excused from team activities, he is expected to be chased on the open market. The Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and New York Knicks are among the teams expected to consider offering him a landing spot.
Each of the listed teams have clear frontcourt needs and are equally intriguing landing spots.
Greg Oden, Miami's latest experiment, has yet to appear in a regular-season contest, leaving head coach Erik Spoelstra no choice but to lean heavily on Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen. When engaged, Bynum can have a two-way impact as a shot-blocker and interior scorer, making him someone who could bolster the Heat's already formidable attack.
The Heat have also had success with tumultuous talents. Their calming yet accomplished locker room has allowed the embattled Michael Beasley to stay out of (negative) headlines and on the basketball court.
Bynum would represent a similar project. Before he was dealt, a league source told Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski that Bynum's NBA future was in legitimate jeopardy:
About Bynum suspension, league source tells Yahoo: "He doesn't want to play basketball anymore. He never liked it that much in first place."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 28, 2013
That's why the Clippers, who USA Today's Sam Amick linked to Bynum from the beginning, remain a constructive landing spot as well:
No surprise, but I'm told the Clippers would have interest in Andrew Bynum if he's released. Final $6 mil of his deal guaranteed Jan. 7.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) December 28, 2013
But as the Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner noted, the Clippers remain skeptical:
Hearing Clips are leaning away from trying to sign Andrew Bynum if he's released by Chicago. Too many issues regarding Bymum from Cleveland— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) January 7, 2014
Realistic destination or not, Los Angeles remains one of the better fits.
Surrounded by veterans who want to win, and coached by the no-nonsense Doc Rivers, Bynum would enter a stable situation, where his antics would not be tolerated. For someone who's constantly ruffling feathers, he could use that level of discipline.
Which is exactly why he should stay away from the Knicks.
New York isn't a nurturing environment. Ask Iman Shumpert, the promising, albeit emotionally fickle, shooting guard turned frequent trade fodder. He'll tell Bynum how receptive New York is to youngsters searching for an identity. And J.R. Smith will tell him how well the Knicks cope with controversy.
Most likely, it won't get that far. Grantland's Bill Simmons previously indicated Bynum had a list of preferred destinations, and the Knicks weren't on it:
3 - From what I hear, Bynum wants to end up with Heat or Clips. But he'd have to be released + Cavs want to trade him (see @WindhorstESPN).— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) December 28, 2013
Which team will Bynum wind up with?
The Clippers are allowing 43.5 points in the paint this season, per TeamRankings.com, and has a greater need for Bynum, but is a Hollywood return in his cards? Will Miami nab him? Does New York even have a chance?
In due time, we'll find out which city is perfectly suited to host the imperfect Bynum this time around.