The Cleveland Cavaliers were going to have a press conference to introduce Andrew Bynum on Thursday. And then all of the sudden they weren't. This doesn't mean that something went wrong with the Bynum deal and it doesn't mean we aren't still getting him. Instead, it has something to do with the Cavaliers reported interest in Mike Miller, the former member of the Miami Heat who recently hit amnesty waivers.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Cavaliers are delaying their signing on Andrew Bynum to keep their salary cap flexibility open for a little while longer.
Cavs have delayed signing Andrew Bynum. Means they have still have cap space to bid for Mike Miller as Yahoo reported they're considering— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 17, 2013
Were the Cavs to put in a bid for Miller and win, they have nonguaranteed players they could waive to re-open space to sign Bynum.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 17, 2013
In order to make an amnesty bid on a player, you must have the necessary cap room to fit your bid. In the case of Mike Miller, he has two more years on his contract and if the Cavaliers are sincere about trying to get Miller, they need enough actual salary cap room to do so. You cannot use an exception (such as the "room" exception that the Cavaliers will have) to make an amnesty bid. You must be under the salary cap.
So why do the Cavs have to delay their signing of Bynum? Because once Bynum is signed, his cap hit will bring the Cavs all the way up to the salary cap (or at least pretty close). If Bynum was officially under contract, the Cavs could still make a bid on Mike Miller -- except they would have to waive one or more of their non-guaranteed contracts to create the necessary cap space. That would mean waiving any combination of Chris Quinn, Kevin Jones, or C.J. Miles to simply have a *chance* at Mike Miller. As I wrote in our initial post about the Cavs' interest in Miller, it would be foolish to cut a player just to have an opportunity at a guy like Mike Miller. After all, the Cavs could end up waiving their non-guaranteed deals, make a bid, and then find out that another team submitted a higher bid. Then they'd be losing these other players for no particular reason.
By waiting to sign Bynum, the Cavs maintain their cap space. They are free to bid whatever they please on Mike Miller (I assume they already have a specific amount in mind) without waiving Jones ($788K), Quinn ($1.1M), or Miles ($2.25M). Then, if Cleveland won their bid on Miller, they would be able to waive those guys in order to make room to officially sign Andrew Bynum.
Does that all make sense? All they are doing is changing the order of their transactions, but it gives them more flexibility. Rather than preemptively waiving players to get Miller, they can wait and see if they get Miller before losing those players.
The deadline for placing amnesty bids on Mike Miller comes at 5 PM Eastern on Thursday. After that deadline, the Cavs will know for sure which players they are keeping in this whole exchange. All we know right now is that the Cavs will most definitely be signing Andrew Bynum. It's just a matter of when at this point.