76ers Say Good Riddance, Andrew Bynum Signs With the Cleveland Cavaliers

Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum
Nov 16 2012 Philadelphia PA USA Andrew Bynum 33 during the third quarter against the Utah Jazz at the Wachovia Center The Sixers defeated the Jazz 99 93 Howard Smith USA TODAY Sports

Philly is in full blown rebuild mode and one thing they can do without is a seven-footer who played zero minutes for them because of blown knees. Now the Cleveland Cavaliers will be the ones hoping they haven’t blown this roll of the dice. Dice with only two sides: NBA-sized bust or Andrew Bynum from the 2011-12 season (who at 25 can still be a franchise guy).

The Cleveland Cavaliers have prepared for that coin toss offering Andrew Bynum a two-year, $24 million contract that is complete with a little asterisk, or three.

Asterisk 1) His first year is only guaranteed for $6 million.

Asterisk 2) The big man stands to make $12 million in that first year only if he reaches health-related incentives. Zing!

Asterisk 3) Though worth $12.5 million, his second year is a team-option, which means the Cavs can cut ties faster than the 76ers did if Bynum turns out to be a dodo.

Surprisingly, the Cavs have pulled off a sound deal that has more potential for dynasty than disaster. If Bynum can stay healthy, he’ll fortify a supporting cast of 2013 No.1 Draft pick Anthony Bennett, recently signed forward Earl Clark, veteran maestro Jarrett Jack, young guns Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters, the Brazilian engine that could Anderson Varejao, and phenom Kyrie Irving. There’s no guarantee that Bynum can stay healthy, or motivated, and so the move remains one with high risk.

To capture the dual nature of the Andrew Bynum signing, we’ve put together a back-and-forth of scenarios for Cleveland.

Best Case Scenario #1: Cleveland’s medical staff gave the all-clear to Cavaliers brass on the state of Bynum’s knees. Perhaps 2012-13 was more a matter of bizarre luck than refusal to protect his body and Bynum does check out, physically, for a long-term career with the Cavs. Varejao isn’t exactly an ironman, but with him and Tyler Zeller, the Cavs have two big men to help relieve Bynum during the regular season. Forced good care (see asterisk 2) and serviceable replacements might be what Bynum needs to live through seasons injury-free.

Worst Case Scenario #1: Cleveland’s medical staff are the same ones responsible for maintaining the upkeep of Kyrie Irving and he’s become the NBA’s version of Mr. Glass. The Cavs are also supremely worried they’ll lose Irving like they did LeBron, and will do anything to prove that they’re all about winning now, including hiring a guy with pudding for knees.

Best Case Scenario #2: Bynum can at least play half the season. He might not be ready to hit the court on the season opener, but if he can contribute 10-15 minutes by All-Star weekend the Cavs might be able to make the playoffs. Nothing says “future for a franchise like getting routed in the opening round of the postseason. No, really.

Worst Case Scenario #2: He plays as many minutes in 2013-14 as Robert Parish had on his jersey: 00.

Best Case Scenario#3: Part of Bynum’s health-related incentives are to not get within 100 yards of a bowling alley.

Worst Case Scenario #3: Cleveland, having come up with the brilliant plan of making his salary dependent on health-related incentives, forgot to include “avoid bowling at all costs” in the contract.

Best Case Scenario #4: Andrew can give the Cavs two good years on a reasonable two-year contract, giving the young cast in Cleveland enough time to come into their own. In two years, Kyrie might discover some defense, Waiters can drop 15 pounds, Tyler can round up to be a good bench center, and Bennett proves to be as NBA-ready as advertised. Cleveland can then drop an injury-ridden Bynum for a more hearty starting center available at the time.

Worst Case Scenario #4: Andrew gives them two good years, gets signed to a max contract, then falls apart like a wet newspaper.

Best Case Scenario #5: Bynum can become the 20 PPG, 15 RPG, three BLKPG guy Cleveland and others have waited for him to become. With enough complimentary talent, a lack of big men to give him troubles in the East at maximum strength, and an aging Miami cast, Bynum leads Cleveland into a string of Eastern Conference Finals appearances. Cleveland can become his redemption after a catastrophic time in Philadelphia.

Worst Case Scenario #5: Expectations are never met and he becomes another Greg Oden. Or, he becomes that 20-15-3 guy and takes his talents to South Beach. Can you imagine?

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles