Why Andrew Bynum is a Great Signing for the Cavs
Andrew Bynum agreed to a two year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight after not playing a single game for the Philadelphia 76ers last season. Yet even with all of the health issues Bynum has dealt with, this is a great signing for Cleveland. Andrew Bynum is one of the few 7 foot centers in the league that can have a dominant presence when he is on the court. Assuming that his knees hold up, it is a huge boost to this young team that is taking the chance many would not with the young center.
The Cavs have one of the league’s future stars in Kyrie Irving. He has already proven himself as one of the top young players in the game, and can easily be considered a top 10 point guard after only his 2nd year in the pros. The Cavs taking a risk on Bynum already shows that they are going to do what it takes to build a solid team around Irving; one that will not be easy for him to walk out on like the Cavs former star LeBron James did. If Bynum can stay healthy, he immediately brings an inside presence that few teams in the NBA have. Assuming he can return to form, a very young and talented combo of Irving and Bynum would immediately make the Cavs a contender for that 8th playoff slot in the top heavy Eastern Conference that even features a sub .500 team some years. Not only is this a big time signing for this year, the effect of a healthy Bynum could make the biggest impact after the 2013-2014 season.
The 2014 free agent class is setting up for one of the most exciting NBA summers to date. The list of star players that can become free agents after next year is astounding. Starting with the best player in the league in LeBron, next summer could drastically change the future of many NBA teams. Andrew Bynum signing is going to have a huge impact for the Cavs next summer. If he is healthy and can perform like the old Andrew Bynum, a team with the tandem he and Kyrie make up would be a very intriguing landing spot for big time free agents. Is it possible that LeBron would finally see championship pieces with his hometown team and want to rebuild his image there? We can’t necessarily answer that question, but regardless, Cleveland could draw other stars that want to create a “big 3″ of their own. Also, if Bynum doesn’t perform up to standards, the Cavs hold an option for the second year, and a very wide open cap space with Kyrie alone could draw interest from other free agents.
In my opinion, this deal has some risk, but huge reward potential for the Cavs. The standards set in the contract give the Cavs a solid position. If Bynum can’t get back to healthy and play enough games, they owe him only $6 million and they can let him go after the year. If the performs up to his potential, they owe him $12 million, which is a very reasonable price for a center of Bynum’s abilities. And they would keep him at least until 2015, while having him on the team during the 2014 summer that could help the Cavs draw major interest from free agents.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad night for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They may have just gotten their center for the future.