Thursday, July 11, 2013

Andrew Bynum to the Cavs is High Reward, Low Risk

Last night the Cleveland Cavaliers signed free agent center Andrew Bynum to a two-year incentive-laden deal for $24 million. It is a wise move for the team since it appears to be high reward for little risk.

The deal is full of incentives and low on guaranteed money because Bynum missed all of last season with a knee injury and has only played in 60% of the possible games in his career. The contract has a team option for the second year, meaning they can cut him without penalty after the first season if it does not pan out. This is not a spending spree type of move that hurts the salary cap, since the worst case scenario is only $6 million for one year. Meanwhile in comparison, free agents Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, and David West signed multi-year deals this year for at least $12 million a year.

It is a high reward move because two seasons ago the 25-year-old averaged 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks a game.  The 7-footer was an All-Star and second team All-NBA selection that year.  If healthy, he plugs into a Cleveland front court that includes veteran Anderson Varejo, #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, #4 pick two years ago Tristan Thompson, and All-Rookie selection Tyler Zeller. Meanwhile, the main core of the team is the young backcourt, led by All-Star 21-year-old point guard Kyrie Irving (above) and All-Rookie selection Dion Waiters. That is a talented eight man rotation with only Varejo being over 25 years old. Several blogs below have the Cavs making the playoffs and even the #5 seed now, if healthy. A big if.

This seems like a lot of optimism for a team that finished with the third worst record in the NBA last year.  However, in the past two months, Cleveland won the draft lottery, made a bold pick at #1, and picked up a former All-Star center on the cheap.

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