Has Andrew Bynum played his final game with the Cleveland Cavaliers? The center was first suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team" and now is officially just on paid leave with no expectation of a return anytime soon. So what happens now for Bynum who has struggled with knee injuries since winning two championships with the Lakers? Plenty of teams are hoping a trade is in the books.
Bynum is currently signed to a two-year, $24.8 million contract. Only $6 million of that money is guaranteed before Jan. 7, but after that date, $12.25 is guaranteed. This contract is essentially perfect as the Cavaliers or any team that trades for him gets flexibility with the now unreliable center. He is an easy rental for teams looking for size but not a cap space hit. According to sources at ESPN.com, Bynum is not expected to finish out the year with the Cavaliers. Teams have already shown interest in the center and it is only a matter of time before he is gone.
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Bynum is a risk no matter what. The center missed all of last season after being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers due to chronic knee injuries. He had yet to make an impact on the court for Cleveland and now is being tagged as a locker room problem. No matter his current issues, the Clippers, Heat and Bulls could all be in play for the center.
According to USA Today, the Clippers have had interest in Bynum for some time. The team is suffering from depth issues in their front court. Right now, DeAndre Jordan is their only real center. Having Bynum back up Jordan to play alongside Blake Griffin and Chris Paul could work well for Los Angeles. He will not be the dominant seven-foot presence he once was, but the team could squeeze 20 minutes a game from him.
The Miami Heat have been in search of size all season as they prepare to go up against the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs. The team is certainly not concerned with outside issues for players considering they signed both Greg Oden and Michael Beasley. Bynum will not be consistent thanks to those knees, but if the team can get 15 minutes out of him plus another 10 from Oden, they would be all set.
The Bulls could also be an option. ESPN brings up the idea of replacing Luol Deng with Bynum. That seems pretty crazy considering Deng is a much better option than Bynum, but the forward is in the final year of his contract and Chicago has been interested in dumping him for some time. Bynum would be a no-risk trade if they plan on getting rid of Deng no matter what.
The Cavaliers can always simply just release Bynum in January. He has four games this season when he has scored 15 or more points. That does help him value, but his attitude is the bigger issue.