Bowling alleys across the country, look out—Andrew Bynum is a free man.
According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Chicago Bulls did what everyone expected, cutting ties with Bynum shortly after completing a deal to acquire him and a handful of draft picks from the Cleveland Cavaliers for Luol Deng:
As expected, the Bulls just finalized the paperwork waiving Andrew Bynum, acquired in last night's Luol Deng trade, league source says.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) January 7, 2014
Here's the Bulls' official release, in all its brief glory:
The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived center Andrew Bynum.
Earlier today, Bynum’s contract was conveyed to the Bulls, along with multiple draft picks from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for the contract of Luol Deng.
Chicago’s roster now stands at 12.
The move is no surprise, especially for anyone who parsed the terms of Chicago's press release announcing the trade. Sean Highkin of USA Today noted that the assets the Bulls acquired didn't include the mention of any actual human beings:
The Bulls’ official announcement of the deal says “Multiple draft picks” in the subject line. Release refers to “contract of Andrew Bynum"— Sean Highkin (@highkin) January 7, 2014
And it's notable that Bulls general manager Gar Forman didn't mention Bynum by name in the team's post-trade statement.
Per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Forman said: "The moves today will put us in a better position to make the entire roster stronger for the future and to compete for a championship.”
Clearly, those championship dreams don't include a certain banged-up, disruptive center.
The Bulls saved about $6 million by releasing the big man. Now, the only question is: Where will Bynum wind up next?
According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Clippers are wary of adding him because of his dubious track record:
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
At the same time, L.A. has released Maalik Wayns and Stephen Jackson over the past week, which means it is at least entertaining the idea of bringing on a free agent for a 10-day stint. Most expect the Clippers to take a flier on Hedo Turkoglu, but Bynum remains a remote possibility.
The Miami Heat are another team that has taken its fair share of long shots. By adding Micheal Beasley and Greg Oden over the summer, the Heat proved they were willing to absorb a little risk if the upside was big enough.
Per B/R's Ethan Skolnick, we could learn a lot about Miami's feelings on its current big-man project by how aggressive it is in pursuing another one:
If the Heat jump on a FA Bynum, it gives us a better idea of where Oden stands. Oden has not been available to media since start of season.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) January 7, 2014
Realistically, it seems unlikely that L.A. or Miami will risk upsetting team chemistry by introducing Bynum into the mix. But there's a dearth of players with his combination of size and skill in the NBA, so some team is bound to take a crack at him eventually.
In the meantime, he can work on picking up that 7-10 split.