Cavs, Mavs and Hawks in pursuit of free-agent center, who's expected to decide by week's end.
By SAM AMICO FS Ohio
News and notes as we enter the NBA’s official signing day for free agents:
• Free-agent center Andrew Bynum will have met with the three teams most heavily pursuing him (
Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks) by Wednesday night, and is expected to make a decision on where to sign by the end of the week.
• According to a report by Yahoo! Sports, the Cavs offered Bynum a two-year deal worth up to $24 million, provided he meets some incentives. The Mavericks, who just reached an agreement with guard
Wayne Ellington (Cavs), won’t be able to match Cleveland's offer without moving some pieces.
• While there’s been no speculation as to what the Mavs or Hawks are proposing to Bynum, many league executives feel it will be difficult to top the Cavs’ offer. That’s especially the case when you consider Bynum is viewed as a major risk after missing all of last season with the Philadelphia 76ers with knee issues.
• The Cavs and Hawks have been provided with Bynum’s most recent medical results, and a source familiar with the findings told FOX Sports Ohio, "They're not bad.”
• The source confirmed reports that the Cavs’ offer protects the organization in the event Bynum “melts down.”
• Discussions between the Cavs and Bynum also focused on giving him time to recover and bringing him along slowly once the season begins, with Bynum and
Anderson Varejao splitting time at center, the source said.
• Bottom line: The Cavs aren’t too worried about paying Bynum in 2013-14. They just don’t want to be committed the following season should the experiment fail.
• The Cavs went hard after Bynum last summer in trade talks that sent
Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers,
Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets and Bynum to the Sixers. Interestingly, those three key pieces will all be with different teams next season. (Howard with the
Houston Rockets; Iguodala the
Golden State Warriors.)
• It is said Cavs coach Mike Brown, in particular, is high on Bynum, having coached Bynum for one season with the Lakers (2011-12). Statistically speaking, it was Bynum’s best year. Brown supposedly believes, if healthy enough, Bynum completely changes the Cavs, “both offensively and defensively,” a source said.
• Whether they land Bynum or not, the Cavs could be open to moving one of their power forwards prior to the start of the season. Right now, Varejao,
Tristan Thompson, Kevin Jones, newcomer Earl Clark, and No. 1 overall draft pick
Anthony Bennett are all capable of playing the position.
• Multiple league sources have suggested Bynum’s problems in Philadelphia may not have been entirely related to his knees. Several hinted that the friction between Bynum and the organization may have played a role -- with the Sixers perhaps as much to blame as the player or the condition of his knees.
• The Mavericks and Hawks are in the running for free-agent guard
Monta Ellis (Milwaukee Bucks), according to a number of reports. All parties are supposedly approaching the Ellis sweepstakes with sign-and-trade possibilities in mind.
• All of those scenarios would call for a trade, however, and the question then becomes whether those teams would want anyone the Mavs might offer. Also, it should be noted that Pekovic, a restricted free agent, supposedly wants to remain with the T-Wolves.
• Meanwhile, once the market settles down, the Bucks could make a play for San Antonio Spurs guard
Gary Neal or Sacramento Kings guard
Jimmer Fredette, sources said. Fredette is clearly available, with the Kings seemingly expecting little but a late draft pick or two in return.