Amico Report: Cavs’ Bynum goes 5-on-5 as season nears

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — With the season opener just a few days away, it is beginning to sound more and more like Cleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum is nearing a return.

Two weeks ago, Cavs coach Mike Brown revealed Bynum was getting “close.”

Then, on Sunday, Brown added a little light to the situation by saying the 7-foot free-agent signee went through “most of practice.”

That included full-court 5-on-5 drills — something that shows Bynum, who missed all of last year in Philadelphia with knee issues, is progressing.

There’s parts of practice that (the doctors) don’t want him to do,” Brown said. “So he hasn’t participated in every aspect of practice, all the time, if that makes sense.”

Brown then read from his entire practice sheet, indicating which drills Bynum took part in, and those Bynum did not. And according to that sheet, Brown was right. Bynum really did participate in most of practice.

The Cavs open the season Wednesday at home vs. the Brooklyn Nets. So the next question, of course, is if Bynum will be ready to play in an actual game.

That is one question Brown cannot answer.

“I’m not even speculating on that,” Brown said. “What I’m waiting for is the doctors to say he can play. When the doctors say it, that’s when I’ll make a decision as to whether or not to play him. But the doctors have not cleared him yet.”

Bynum has been spotted working out both before games and after practices. He appears to be moving well.

But the Cavs are in no rush and that makes sense. Theoretically, it would be better to have Bynum healthy for the first playoff game than the first regular-season game.

And when healthy, Bynum is the type of player who can play a major role in getting your team to the playoffs — especially with Cavs teammates such as Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Jarrett Jack and others.

Bynum’s last season of good health came in 2011-12, when he played in 60 of 66 possible games with the Los Angeles Lakers (who were coached by Brown). Bynum averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds that year.

The Cavs believe he can get back to that level, or something close. But for now, the idea is just to get him in a game, and that day appears to be looming.

Off the Bench

• Second-year Cavs center Tyler Zeller, who has been practicing following an appendectomy, very well could be available for the season-opener. “I have not been told by doctors he’s OK to play Wednesday, but he went through every single (practice) drill,” Brown said.

• The Washington Wizards are expected to waive three of the four players obtained in a trade with the Phoenix Suns last week. The Wizards will keep center Marcin Gortat, the prize of the deal, but say goodbye to guards Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall and Malcolm Lee.

• Brown and Marshall are already drawing interest around the league, with some reports stating Brown will head to the Lakers. Marshall, a second-year point guard, could hear from the Philadelphia 76ers, one league source told FOX Sports Ohio.

• Names of others recently cut players drawing interest around the league: Forwards Royce White, Josh Childress and Damion James, and guards Royal Ivery, Jermaine Taylor, Seth Curry and Vander Blue.

• One NBA general manager told FOX Sports Ohio that veteran free-agent guard Richard Hamilton has been contacted by no less than seven teams. It appears that Hamilton will wait until about the midway point of the season to sign somewhere.

• That GM also gave his prediction for the Eastern Conference playoffs: 1. Miami; 2. Chicago; 3. Indiana; 4. Brooklyn; 5. Cleveland; 6. Detroit; 7. New York; 8. Washington.

• As an aside, the GM does not work for any of those teams.

• Both Sixers guard Evan Turner and center Spencer Hawes are in the final years of their contracts. Scuttlebutt around the league is that both will be moved prior to the February trading deadline.

Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO