With Tuesday’s NBA deadline to guarantee contracts dwindling down, many teams around the league are making tough choices in terms of what players to go after as free agents and what players to release. The Chicago Bulls made a sound investment in their future Monday night by trading Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for three future first round picks and Andrew Bynum. By releasing Bynum immediately, the Bulls will save over $20 million in cap space over the offseason which can become extremely beneficial when many superstar players hit the free agent market this summer.
With Bynum’s pending release from the Bulls, there have been several teams reporting interest in the former All-Star center. The Miami Heat are currently one of those interested teams which brings up the question: Is this a gamble worth making for the defending champs?
Bynum isn’t the same player he once was, but even in his crippled state with the Cavaliers this season he averaged 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. If these numbers were to translate while playing in a Heat uniform, Bynum would be the team’s third highest rebounder, seventh highest scorer and would lead the team in blocks per game. These were all numbers accumulated as a role player for the Cavaliers, so his presence would definitely provide a spark for the defending champs in the frontcourt. The real question is, though, what player is worth giving up to take a chance on Bynum? The true answer is none.
The only two players on non-guaranteed contracts for the Heat currently are Michael Beasley and Roger Mason Jr. Beasley has been playing lights out for the Heat this season, shooting a career-best 53 percent from the field, so the Heat’s decision to retain him for the rest of the season is all but a formality. Because the Heat are so thin at the guard position in terms of depth, releasing Mason Jr. for another “project” center seems counterproductive, especially with Greg Oden waiting in the wings.
The Heat currently have one of the deepest teams in the league, and although adding Bynum would bolster their frontcourt, the loss of another guard could be detrimental for the Heat heading into the playoffs. The Heat should absolutely not go after Bynum no matter how much of a bargain it ends up being.