Will Cleveland Cavaliers' Signing of Andrew Bynum Be a Boom or Bust?

By Marilee Gallagher
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Bynum is bringing his talent and his hair to Cleveland.

As was announced late Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers and center Bynum agreed to terms on a $12 million one-year deal with $6 million guaranteed and a $12.5 million option for the 2014-15 season. In short, Cleveland got their man.

But was it the right move? Did the Cavaliers do themselves any favors by signing the center who last played a regular season game in 2012?

In the stock market, they call it a boom or bust, so which will Bynum’s signing ultimately turn out to be?

According to the sports nation of the world, signing Bynum would be a bust and not a good move, at least as their favorite team was concerned. In fact, in a poll done by ESPN, only one of the 50 states had significant “yes” response to the question, would you want your team to sign Andrew Bynum?

And you may have guessed it, but that state was Ohio, home of the Cavaliers.

Pennsylvania, home of the Philadelphia 76ers, was certainly not in favor of bringing Bynum back. The team did not even offer Bynum any sort of contract in free agency.

Of course, this may have been a different story if Bynum was healthy or if he played even a minute’s worth of time for the team that effectively traded away some of their top players to get him. But ultimately, trading for him turned out to be a huge bust and now Cleveland might see the same results.

It only makes sense that the Cavaliers would have needed some sort of confirmation from Bynum that he was healthy and going to be able to make an impact during the regular season, but even still, it is a signing going off of blind faith and the potential Bynum has. The 76ers did the same thing and all it did was leave fans with a very bad taste in their mouths regarding Bynum and what was lost to get him.

There is a good amount of risk in the Cavaliers taking a chance on Bynum, beyond the injury history.

After all, the just 25-year-old center has been considered to be immature during his career and without a legitimate focus on the sport seen by some of his competitors around the league. It has had some questioning Bynum’s passion for the game and the level of intent he has in playing.

And that is not what the Cavaliers, a franchise that had perhaps the most committed player in the NBA in LeBron James, are looking for. Especially not now, considering their roster is loaded with young talented stars, namely Kyrie Irving, who certainly don’t need Bynum’s disruptions or distractions.

Obviously there is a good level of upside as well.

If, and that is a big if, Bynum is healthy, he is still one of the premier centers in the game. He affords the Cavaliers a much better defense and will help them to avoid their deplorable numbers of points given up in the paint and under the rim. Bynum also possesses the ability to score and could work nicely to open up Irving and second-year pro Dion Waiters to get more open looks and be put in the position to excel.

So when looking at the contract, Bynum on a year-one deal is not the worst thing Cleveland could have done. They still are likely not a top playoff team and will need much more help on the perimeter to be able to challenge the top offenses in the league, but overall it could pay off.

Because if Bynum is healthy, the Cavaliers are essentially stealing one of the best centers in the game.

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