There will be no shortage of interest in unrestricted free agent center Andrew Bynum once teams are allowed to contact free agents at 12:01 a.m. EST tonight, according to sources close to the situation.
The source specifically mentioned the Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers as two teams expected to reach out to Bynum along with all of the franchises with cap space that are pursuing center Dwight Howard. Howard is set to meet with the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. Of those five, the Hawks, Mavericks and Rockets have the necessary space under the cap to make a max, or near max, offer without needing to do a sign-and-trade.
Bynum has been speculated upon in Cleveland fan circles as a guy that Cavs' fans would possibly want in free agency, but the team's interest hadn't been reported until now. It's an interesting idea for a team that has been actively working to clear out cap space by not tendering either Wayne Ellington or Omri Casspi contracts. They've also seen Marreese Speights reject his player option in order to become an unrestricted free agent.
Bynum would be an excellent fit on a team that has been starved for a low-post scoring threat, even going back into the LeBron James years. Having said that, I'm not a huge proponent of signing Bynum. The risk is far too high for a team still in the roster building stages of a rebuild. Along with that, I still feel fairly confident that some team is going to give him max money. It might be over the course of three years as opposed to five, but because so many teams have max cap space there are going to be a lot of contracts given out this offseason that make you wonder what the hell that general manager was thinking. Bynum probably will be one of those because he's still one of the best centers in the NBA when he's healthy, and that's smarter money than giving O.J. Mayo $10 million per season.
If the Cavs make an offer, I get the sense that it will be a fairly conservative one. Bynum's health is extremely questionable, but a deal that includes team options and only a year or two of guaranteed money could be worth the risk. The Cavs currently have two centers on the roster in Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller, but neither offers the upside that Bynum possesses.
Mike Brown coached Bynum in Los Angeles and I really have no idea what their relationship is like. I can't imagine any coach that has dealt with Bynum is real eager to go through that again, but I could be wrong.
I doubt the Cavaliers end up with him, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Chris Grant at least offer after we witnessed how hard he tried to get a star in a trade before the draft.