Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy)
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For the first time in, well, ever, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been somewhat effective in this year’s free agency market. After drafting Anthony Bennett #1 overall out of UNLV, the Cavaliers went out and added some depth by signing forward, Earl Clark, and veteran guard, Jarrett Jack. Then as of Wednesday night, Cleveland reached on an agreement with All-Star center, Andrew Bynum, who is probably the most high-profile free agent to ever don the wine & gold. Most of you may be thinking that this is just another stupid move by the Cavaliers due to Bynum sitting out all of last year with knee issues and his questionable maturity progression. Trust me, I understand your concern, but with the way that Cleveland worked out the deal, the Cavaliers can't lose.
If you only took a quick glance at the deal, you'll see that Bynum is set to make $24 million over the next 2 years. For a player that is coming off of a serious knee injury, that would seem like way too much money, but just like my boss tells me, always remember to read the details. Of that $24 million, only $6 million is guaranteed. No matter how this next season goes, the 7-footer will make $6 million, but if he plays a certain amount of games and reaches particular goals/incentives within the contract, then Bynum will make the full $12 million in his first season. Depending on how year one goes, the Cavs have a team option for the 2014-2015 season so they can either bring him back at his $12 million salary or cut him with no repercussions. You may think that it is a gamble to bring on an injury laden player like Bynum, but for a guy with still a lot to prove and since you can find $6 million in Dan Gilbert's wallet on any given day, the gamble is looking more and more like a win-win.
In this day and age of the game, chances are that you will not find a former 7-foot All-Star that is still only 25. If the experiment fails, it'll cost Gilbert $6 million. Since $6 million is nothing to the Cavs owner, the experiment is worth the risk. If the experiment succeeds, Bynum will get his $12 million and a second year on his contract, but the Cavaliers will get much more than a talented big man. Not only will Cleveland have a another young All-Star alongside Kyrie Irving in a Mike Brown system that Bynum shined in back in L.A., but they will have added a piece that may help them get back to the playoffs. So if the Cavaliers get the Bynum of old and they make the playoffs this coming season, it will continue to entice the King, Mr. LeBron James, to come back to Cleveland. This is all a process and a game that the Cavaliers are playing. The whole goal in bringing Bynum to Cleveland is to strike rich on the gamble and score the best player in the world next off-season. The Cavaliers have been completely lost ever since James left for South Beach, so if the addition of the big man can help Cleveland in any way in getting back their home-town super star, then this signing may go down as one of the most important deals in the team's history.
Either way you look at it, the Cavaliers made a very smart decision in signing the young, talented, and widely driven Andrew Bynum. You may think that the Cavaliers overpaid for Bynum, and even though the initial numbers may agree with you, he is worth so much more than $24 million in the long run.