The Cleveland Cavaliers were on their way to recovery having taken their most significant steps yet this summer since drafting Kyrie Irving to recover from the loss of LeBron James. But for every step forward, Cleveland seems hell bent on taking two steps back.
The Cavs and owner Dan Gilbert have now offered the perpetually injured Andrew Bynum a two year contract worth $24 million according to reports. After a No. 1 draft pick and signing two quality free agents in Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark, it looked like Cleveland was finally on the road to recovery in the post-LeBron era, but to attempt wasting $12 million per season on a player who never touched the floor for his former team in Philadelphia just shows that the Cavs have no real intention of contending.
With one injury plagued center in Anderson Varejao, it's a bit mind boggling that the Cavs would be so willing to take a chance on Bynum. The 25-year old Bynum has appeared in 82 games over the course of a season just once in his entire eight year career. In Los Angeles, Bynum became a starter for the 2008-09 season and suffered injury stints that lasted a minimum of 20 games from that point on until he was traded so the Lakers could acquire Dwight Howard.
Last season, Philly fans patiently waited for Bynum to take the floor, but it never happened. His only highlights were centered around his wide array of hairstyles. His problems have been centered around his feet and knees, two areas that don't heal better with age. If last season was an indication of anything, it should be that Bynum isn't cut out to play center in the NBA on a night-to-night basis.
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Sure, Bynum is tall and strong and has decent skills around the basket, but the fact is that NBA players have to be up to the challenge of playing in a tough, physical league that demands a lot of a player's body. NBA basketball isn't slowing down and becoming easier for the player's bodies to hold up, it's getting harder and faster, especially for big men.
Given what we know about Bynum, is it smart for anyone to make him an offer and what is he worth?
Chris Kaman just signed with the Lakers on a $3.2 million dollar contract for the season. I ask, how is Chris Kaman worth $3.2 million at 31-years of age when he has notched more than 50 starts in seven of the ten years of his career, yet Bynum is worth $12 million per season? For those seven seasons, Kaman has averaged 11.7 points per game, the exact same number of points Bynum has averaged for his career.
I understand that this league is desperately short of quality centers. I know that several teams need a big man and that when healthy (which is practically never) Bynum has the potential to be an impact player. But, I don't understand his value in relation to other centers.
We're talking about a guy who could be good, not a guy who is good. Al Jefferson is a good center and just signed on with the Charlotte Bobcats at $13.5 million per season. For his career he averages 16 points and 9 rebounds per game. Bynum's career averages of 11 points and 8 rebounds per game don't measure up when you add in his injury plagued nature, yet we're talking about him getting the same kind of money.
And shockingly, the Cavs aren't alone in their interest. Dallas is also looking at Bynum and considering offering him a deal. It's as if they really believe he's healed after a year which saw him fail to come back after suffering a setback while bowling. Are they actually stupid enough to think he can now be a stabilizing force on the interior when there is absolutely no evidence to show that he can play such a role?
The fact is, Bynum's injuries will always limit his effectiveness. His knees will prove troublesome, his athleticism will continuously decline. Anyone considering offering him more than the minimum he would be due is crazy, but luckily for him there is no shortage of crazy in the headquarters of NBA teams.