Andrew Bynum, the one-time rising young star with the Los Angeles Lakers who did not play a game for the Philadelphia 76ers last season because of bad knees, has agreed to a $24-million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Talk about the value of being a 7-footer.
Although Bynum is encouraged by the results of the latest MRI of his achy knees, his health remains a legitimate concern. And yet he still was coveted by the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks as well as Cleveland, which also signed guard Jarrett Jack from Golden State and Earl Clark from the Lakers.
According to ESPN, which broke the story, the deal is worth up to $24 million, with the Cavaliers holding a team option for the second year. Only $6 million of the contract is guaranteed, according to sources.
Bynum will have to reach a myriad of health- and games-related benchmarks to collect the full $12 million in the first year of the deal, sources told the network.
The $6 million guarantee is considered reasonable by the Cavs, who view landing a young, former all-star center as a solid investment.
A healthy Bynum with sensational young point guard Kyrie Irving would make Cleveland far more attractive than it has been since LeBron James bolted three years ago.
Bynum made his decision Wednesday night after meetings with Cleveland, the Hawks and Mavericks in succession. Sources told ESPN that neither Dallas nor Atlanta made Bynum an offer during their meetings.
In fact, according to ESPN, after a breakfast meeting with Bynum and medical evaluations in Dallas, Mavericks officials came away with what one source described as “significant concerns” about Bynum’s ability to be ready for the start of the season or to have any impact in 2013-14. That made the Mavericks reluctant to try to outbid the Cavs.
Although the Cavs are realistic about the severity of Bynum’s injury history, the team was encouraged by recent MRI results, league sources told ESPN. The Cavs hope Bynum will be ready for training camp.