Oft-injured, oft-hilarious, ridiculously-coiffed tall person Andrew Bynum will sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski. He'll also be a cheap gamble—even if the Cavs end up having to pay more than the scant $6 million they're guaranteeing him.
Bynum's 2012-13 was something past a disaster for the 76ers, who shipped Andre Iguodala to Denver and Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, and a first-round pick to Orlando in the trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers, and got Bynum and Jason Richardson for their participation. Richardson, now 33, shot a shade over 40% for Philly, but he wasn't expected to be much of an asset; Bynum, who spent zero games in uniform thanks to bone bruises and knee problems, was, and yet the Sixers couldn't even flip him at the deadline.
But the Sixers kind of thought they might be a playoff team in 2012-13, despite jettisoning Iguodala, while the Cavs have no apparent timetable for contention. Kyrie Irving turned 21 in March, 10 days after Tristan Thompson turned 22 and eight days after Anthony Bennett turned 20; Dion Waiters will turn 22 in December. Elder statesman Anderson Varejao is 30. No one seriously thinks these Cavs are destined for immediate greatness, nor do they need to be.
And Bynum, still just 25, is the sort of lottery ticket worth buying: Young seven-footers with a history of NBA production (Bynum was a 19-12 player for the Lakers in 2011-12) are virtually never available, much less cheap, and if the Cavs don't get him at full health in the near future, or get the Bynum who famously clashed with Mike Brown in L.A., well, it's not like he was the last piece to the puzzle.
The time to add that piece may well be next summer, anyway. Cleveland has very little committed, and with only Irving assured of fetching max money, that won't change much. Cleveland also has its biggest hole at small forward, which remains the position that native son/quisling LeBron James nominally plays, and now has a nucleus of Irving-Waiters-Thompson/Bennett-Bynum/Varejao to offer to LeBron, still the only superstar free agent who would conceivably want to spend winters in Cleveland.
Is that definitively better than getting the twilights of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, or an uncertain future in purple and gold, or the things the Knicks and Nets could offer? Nah. But it's arguable, and signing Bynum shows that the Cavs are at least willing to take risks. Putting on the full-court press in hopes of wooing back a guy their city scorned is going to be another one.
And, fuck, Dan Gilbert's money will be at risk instead of earned by betting on risks for once.
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