CLEVELAND, OH - Andrew Bynum has finished his free-agent tour. It's time to decide where he'll make his next NBA home.
Bynum, who has received an incentive-laden, two-year contract offer from the Cavaliers, met with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, one day after visiting the Atlanta Hawks. The Cavs have been waiting for an answer from Bynum, who was traded to Philadelphia last summer but never played for the 76ers because of knee injuries.
Bynum's agent, David Lee, told The Associated Press that the 7-footer has not yet picked a new team. Lee said he expects to have "further dialogue" with the Cavs, whose offer includes a team option in the second year. Lee said he was "not sure" when a decision would be finalized.
The Cavs made an aggressive bid to sign Bynum, a former All-Star with the Lakers who became the most coveted big man on the market after Dwight Howard chose Houston. Their offer is reportedly worth $24 million, though it's complex and contains numerous performance bonuses.
The Mavericks fell short in their pursuit of Howard and have genuine interest in Bynum. First, though, the team wants some assurances he's ready to play.
"At this point, we're having medical discussions and we'll have the opportunity to get with him and his agent and better understand the risks involved and make a good decision for our franchise," said Donnie Nelson, the team's president of basketball operations. "Currently, we still need help and support in our front court and we're going to turn over every stone."
Nelson said "negotiations are ongoing."
If he goes to Cleveland, the 25-year-old Bynum would be reunited with Cavs coach Mike Brown. The pair spent one season together in Los Angeles and Bynum had his finest year as a pro, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds in 60 games.
The Cavs are eager to get an answer from Bynum. They've already agreed to contract terms with free agent forward Earl Clark and Jarrett Jack, two players who will improve a team that won just 24 games last season and fired coach Byron Scott in April.
When healthy, Bynum is a force on the floor and would instantly make Cleveland a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference and put the Cavs back on the NBA map three years after LeBron James' departure. Cleveland has been a tough sell for high-profile free agents, and landing Bynum could help change the city's perception to future players.
Bynum has plenty of playoff experience and he would give the Cavs another proven star to go along with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.
However, Bynum would arrive with major risks. He never got well enough to play last season and underwent surgery on his troubled knees in March. The Cavs gave Bynum a thorough exam on Monday when he visited their facility, and they came away satisfied he was worth signing.
In guaranteeing Bynum only one year, the Cavs would have an out if he doesn't perform up to expectations. But if he does play well, they will have a roster that could attract another high-profile free agent next summer, when James could be available.