Over the course of the past week there’s been plenty of talk about the future value of once-promising but uber-confounding Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum. At one time, the 25 year-old Bynum appeared to have finally hit a tipping point, on his way to becoming one of the NBA‘s next great big men.
He hit the proverbial wall with the force of a punch from Mike Tyson.
After a 2011-2012 season where Bynum averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for the Los Angeles Lakers, the seven-footer was dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers in a move that raised eyebrows around the NBA.
Upon his arrival to Philly, Bynum’s knee issues became severe enough for him to not once touch the floor this past season. The more skeptical began to question just how much his injury was the issue, and how much of the issue was Bynum’s distaste with a change of scenery far from his own design.
With the Dwight Howard signing now sealed and delivered, Bynum is arguably the next best big man left on the free agent market this summer. Given this — and the desperation of certain teams to make a move, no matter what that move may be — Bynum has two meetings set up for this week, one with the Dallas Mavericks and another with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In short, Bynum is a commodity which stands on shaky ground more unstable by the day. If either Cleveland or Dallas commits to him, the commitment should be short-term and highly conditional.
Yes, both teams have an obvious need for a traditional back-to-the-basket center, Dallas more so than Cleveland. The Cavaliers at least have a nominal paint presence in the combination of Tristan Thompson, Marese Speights and Anderson Varejo.
None of this trio can command what Bynum can when at his best, however, so Cleveland’s interest makes sense. Dallas’ interest is based more in panic than necessity, but this isn’t to suggest necessity doesn’t exist. After failing to land a big-name free agent once again, don’t expect Mark Cuban to expect the rest of the month to pass without doing something. His ego just won’t allow it.
The Mavericks depended upon Chris Kaman (now a Laker) and Elton Brand to fill the paint last season, and their success was marginal to be kind.
In short: meh.
Even though Cleveland and Dallas both have the cap space available to make a long-term commitment to Andrew Bynum, history, and the open market suggest doing so to be an infantile decision.
A one-year contract with value based on incentives — both in terms of production and number of games played– is the only reasonable option to make a sound, logical business decision. Anything more is gambling.
If either Cuban or Gilbert decide to gamble, their decisions won’t be any wiser than the typical dice roll in Vegas.
Pure chance just as likely to create empty wallets as a modest windfall.