The DEFEND Cleveland Show

Breaking Bynum

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks


I take my sports opinions seriously.  I want to be right more than I want to be heard.  And I shouldn’t feel the need to even state that, but in the era of 24 hour sports and Twitter, it is hard to decipher between those who just want your attention and those who actually feel that they have a legitimate contrarian opinion to contribute.

That disclaimer aside, I’m starting to feel like the only soul in Cleveland who doesn’t want Andrew Bynum and his geriatric knees in Cleveland.

“But Joe, there isn’t any risk to a one year deal.”

Incorrect. Erroneous. Inaccurate. Mistaken. Counter-factual. Misguided.


Reports are that the Cavs gave put a two year deal on the table for Bynum totaling 24 million dollars with the second year being a team option.  There is also a note that the contract is to be incentive laced in terms of minutes played and having to pass a few benchmarks in training camp.

Awesome, right?


What is the ideal situation here?  Bynum comes in and plays like he did in his last season with the Lakers?  That season was a complete anomaly.  There is no evidence to suggest that Bynum is going to be able to do that again.  He has osteoarthritis of the knees.  He has had four surgeries over the course of his professional career on his knees in addition to foot problems.  At the age of twelve he had surgery on his knees because he was growing too fast and  the doctors were afraid he was going to have foot problems in the future without it.  He did anyways.  He has personally admitted there is no surgery to fix his knees.  He is refusing to workout for teams as an injury riddled free agent.  His previous season ended for good when he couldn’t even make it through a single practice without crippling pain and stiffness. He is a candidate for the dreaded microfracture surgery, but is delaying it in hopes of milking whatever else he can out of his NBA career.  When was the last time anyone actually saw this guy workout?  Play basketball?  Anyone…Bueller?

Even if he comes in and manages 25 minutes a night, registers 15 PPG and 8 RPG, and is able to play 60 plus games, then what?  Do you pick up the second year of his option?  His knees are only going to get worse.  There is no miracle cure for his ailment.  It isn’t a torn ACL which will heal with surgery and proper physical therapy.  Playing basketball will only cause more wear and tear on his knees.  Cartilage cannot be regrown, except in a petri dish.  There are options to try and manage the symptoms, mainly ways to manage pain and swelling, but none are full proof.  Not to mention how much Bynum actually enjoys basketball is constantly being called into question and we’re talking about signing that guy to a contract and asking him to play through pain.  What is the end game here?  It reeks of throwing shit at a wall and hoping some sticks. I don’t see how this ends well for the Cavaliers.

If he plays well and by some act of god stays relatively healthy, the Cavaliers might feel obligated to press their luck on the second year of the contract and hope they avoid the “Whammy” that are Bynum’s knees for a second year.  In the process the second year will hamstring their cap space for 2014.  All for what?  So that the Cavs take a short term step forward?  They aren’t winning a championship with Bynum this year or probably ever.  If no one team is willing to bet on Bynum in the long term right now then what is going to change in two years?  Are we banking on some yet to be popularized medical procedure to come into play and restore Bynum to working order by then?

So as much as everyone wants to scream “it is low risk, high reward”, I just don’t see the payoff.  Everyone is enamored with the idea of taking this shortcut, but it just isn’t there.  There are opportunity costs to signing Bynum as well.  Cavs were able to garner a 1st round pick from Memphis for nothing by just having cap space open last season.  They’d be giving that flexibility up.  Or what about signing Andrei Kirilenko short term? I’d rather throw 12 million dollars at him for a season and get a guaranteed upgrade at the SF position.  I know Kirilenko opted out of deal that would pay him 10 million for this upcoming season in hopes of procuring a three year deal, but the teams with available cap space are dwindling and it looks less and less likely he’ll be able to get the deal he wanted.  12 million for a single season might start to look more and more appealing if that’s the case.

Maybe I’m wrong here and part of me isn’t sure why I am so passionately against this signing.  There is a nagging feeling that it could easily blow up in my face even if there isn’t much rationale to that feeling.  In the end though I don’t want the the Cavs to give Andrew Bynum his last payday.  To be put on the list with the 76ers of teams robbed by him.  There are so many positive aspects going for this Cavaliers team and I don’t want the taint of Bynum’s health lingering throughout this upcoming season.  The Cavs are on the right path.  They don’t need a shortcut.  They don’t need to “get lucky” anymore.  They have the talent needed to win at a high level in this league.  They just need to foster that talent and supplement it.  Bynum is fool’s gold, let some other team find that out.


-Joe Mastrantoni


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Posted by on Jul 9 2013. Filed under Featured, Hands Down, Man's Down. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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