Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum has been suspended indefinitely by the team, general manager Chris Grant announced today. The organization claims he was a negative influence on the young squad, and since his contract is not fully guaranteed some are reporting he could be released soon if the Cavs can’t find a trade partner.
Bynum is only guaranteed half of the reported $12 million he was set to make this season after reaching certain benchmarks â€” imposed after he missed the entire 2012-13 season for Philadelphia. The Cavs have until January 7 to release Bynum, trade him, or pick up the option and pay him the full amount of his contract.
The reactions around the league seem to center on Bynum’s possible availability in a trade, but the release is the result of a behavioral problems, which many predict will infect any team looking to deal for him and makes finding a trade partner difficult at best.
Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt at USA Today report that Bynum was a bad fit with a young Cleveland roster:
Bynum has not bought in to what the Cavaliers are trying to accomplish, and with a young a team, he had turned into a negative influence, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive nature of the situation.
The situation had been building over the past month, and it reached a tipping point at practice Friday. There was no outburst or physical alternation â€“ just a continued insistence from Bynum to do what he wants with little regard to team goals. The person said if Bynum wasn’t committed 100% there is no reason for him to be with the team right now.
The reactions around the league have been various and impassioned, but Amick mentions the Clippers and Nets as possible trade partners.
Eric Pincus at the Los Angele Times says the Lakers are out, and Dwain Price at the Star-Telegram also appeared to rule out Dallas as a trade partner despite their tepid interest in him this summer. Tim Kawakani of the Mercury News also appeared to rule out Golden State. But the Heat, Clippers and Nets seem to be the front-runners, at least in terms of need and speculation by columnists.
Brian Windhorst at ESPN has more on the timeline of events that led to Bynum’s dismissal in Cleveland, and says the Heat and the Clippers are possible landing spots for the embattled 7-footer:
If Bynum is traded and waived, there would be plenty of interest in him as a free agent. The Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat are two teams on the lookout for size. Even with Greg Oden’s long-term project in Miami, Bynum is much farther along in his recovery and would likely entice the Heat if they could clear a roster spot.
– Bynum has been sulking recently because his playing time and touches have dwindled even as he’s at times showed he can still be a significant contributor. During the Cavs’ double-overtime loss Thursday to the Atlanta Hawks, Bynum was benched in the third quarter and never returned. He spent the rest of the night at the end of the bench and appeared to be sulking.
– On Friday, Bynum met with coach Mike Brown, sources said. It isn’t clear what happened in that meeting, but it’s possible he was told the Cavs might go a different direction with the big man’s minutes. Afterward, the Cavs decided to suspend Bynum and not take him on their team flight to Boston on Friday afternoon. By Saturday, the team had him on the trade block.
– Bynum has a point and so do the Cavs. The team’s guards generally did a poor job of getting him the ball consistently, even when he was running hot. Guard Kyrie Irving openly admitted he had never played with a post player like Bynum and didn’t know how to best take advantage of it. There were games when Bynum was dominating his man but couldn’t get a pass in position or with any time on the shot clock.
Meanwhile, Bynum wasn’t able to move well enough on his knees to help the Cavs defensively most of the time. He shot just 42 percent when he did get the ball, as he clearly was trying to adapt to shooting without having any lift. The plus-minus numbers showed the Cavs were better when Bynum did not play.
– Irving has been branded a ball hog by teammates and fans this season. At times this is undoubtedly true; Irving tends to try to do everything by himself in a trait that is common with inexperienced but talented players.
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld and Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio offer more about Bynum’s personal disrespect towards the coaches and how that might affect Cleveland’s ability to get a trade partner by January 7. The Cavs don’t necessarily need to trade or cut Bynum. They can keep him and try to move him before the February 20 deadline, but then they’re on the hook for the remaining $6 million owed this year.
Cavs source on what happened with Bynum: "Same thing that happened in LA, just reckless behavior. He was regularly disrespecting coaches."
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) December 28, 2013
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) December 28, 2013
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) December 28, 2013
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