The mercurial and often injured big man known as Andrew Bynum, according to sources, just left Cleveland with a two-year, $24 million offer on the table from the Cleveland Cavaliers. For Cleveland’s sake, let’s hope that money never makes its way into Bynum’s bank account.
In the aftermath of LeBron James‘ “The Decision”, Cleveland had the look of a basketball graveyard. The small-market franchise wasn’t attractive to free-agents and had no young prospects with which to build around post-LeBron. Cleveland was essentially at the mercy of the NBA lottery Gods. Luckily for them, their prayers were answered. The Cavaliers won the lottery not once, but twice.
In landing Kyrie Irving and Anthony Bennett with the top picks, along with top five picks Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, Cleveland’s roster is the envy of the league — to the point that King James has a quandary on his hands on whether to return to his old throne in 2014.
With or without James, Cleveland has the potential to be an Eastern Conference version of the Oklahoma City Thunder — a team built through the draft. This is all the reason for them to immediately end their pursuit of Bynum. There are simply too many questions surrounding a player, who for all the hype, has only one season of production at an All-Star level — he averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds in 2011-12. From a health, chemistry and basketball standpoint, a Bynum-Cavaliers marriage doesn’t make sense.
Even if healthy, Bynum wouldn’t complement Cleveland’s best player–Kyrie Irving now, and maybe James in the future. The plodding Bynum isn’t an ideal roll man for the pick-and-roll, and although Bynum may disagree (he infamously stated that he was going to expand his game to the three-point line) he doesn’t shoot well enough to be a pick-and-pop player either. With Bynum clogging up the paint on a roster deft of shooters, he would essentially be the opposing teams’ sixth defender on Irving’s drives to the basket.
Then there’s the chemistry issue. While Bynum may have had his best season with the Los Angeles Lakers under Cleveland’s new, for the second time, head coach Mike Brown, respect wasn’t something he bestowed on Brown. With Cleveland having such a young roster, there remains a possibility that Bynum’s renegade attitude toward Brown could rub off on other players.
Simply put, Bynum is a cancer that Cleveland doesn’t have a cure for. With Bynum deaf to Brown’s coaching and without a Kobe Bryant type player to rein him in, Cleveland’s playoff chances will be held hostage by Bynum’s, via Randy Moss, “I play when I want to play” attitude.
Bynum once said, “there’s a bank in every city.” For Cleveland’s sake, let’s hope he finds one in Atlanta or Dallas.