CLEVELAND — Andrew Bynum has been on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ radar since last summer, when the Cavs were involved in trade talks potentially involving the then-Los Angeles Lakers center.
The deal never worked out and Bynum ended up with the Philadelphia 76ers. Then he missed all of this past season with knee issues.
Doubts about Bynum’s passion for the game have followed, with some implying he’s just a big bodied 7-footer who’s a bigger headache.
No matter, it appears the Cavs are willing to find out.
As FOX Sports Ohio reported just before the NBA Draft in late June, the Cavs are seeking another center and have Bynum in their sights. They appear to be taking that interest to another level, as FSO sources confirmed an ESPN report that Bynum and the Cavs are meeting Monday in Cleveland.
The Cavs’ talks with Bynum were described by another source as “very real.”
Bynum, 25, is an unrerstricted free agent, able to sign with any team without the Sixers possessing the right to match. He missed all of last season with what was initially diagnosed as a bone bruise on his right knee. It later turned into arthroscopic surgery on both knees in March.
Still, there’s no questioning Bynum’s ability — as he compiled career-best averages of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds with the Lakers in 2011-12. Mike Brown coached the Lakers that season, and is entering his first year of his second go-around with the Cavs.
The Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks are also reportedly pursuing Bynum.
Meanwhile, the Cavs have been active in free agency this summer, having reached agreements with forward Earl Clark (Lakers) and guard Jarrett Jack (Golden State Warriors) since the negotiating period began July 1.
Teams can officially sign players Wednesday and word is Bynum’s camp would like to have a deal in place within a week. They were said to be impressed with the Cavs during previous discussions.
The Cavs reportedly are prepared to make a one-year offer to Bynum in the $12-$15 million range.
In other news, as FSO reported in early June, the Cavs have also been interested in restricted free agent center Nikola Pekovic (Minnesota Timberwolves). However, a source said Monday that Pekovic wants to remain in Minnesota.
FOX Sports Ohio will have more on the Bynum story as it develops.