CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wondered what other moves general manager Chris Grant had in mind to improve Cleveland this summer.
He knows now.
The Cavs hosted free agent center Andrew Bynum on Monday, a person familiar with the visit told The Associated Press. The 7-foot Bynum, who didn’t play one game for Philadelphia last season because of a knee injury, met with team officials at Cleveland Clinic Courts, the club’s suburban facility, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of negotiations.
On Sunday, Gilbert went on Twitter to applaud the team’s acquisition of free agent forward Earl Clark and guard Jarrett Jack, who both agreed to terms on deals with Cleveland last week. On his page, Gilbert wrote: “I am more than excited about @TeamEarlClark & @JarrettJack03 joining the @cavs! Two team players that flat-out make us better. What’s next CG?”
Bynum’s meeting with the Cavs was first reported by ESPN.
Yahoo! Sports reported on Monday night that the Cavaliers made a two-year offer to Bynum, according to league sources.
Grant is hoping to land a big man, and with Dwight Howard signing with Houston, the 25-year-old Bynum is the most attractive center on the market. The Cavs want to first make sure Bynum is healthy before offering him a deal.
The Dallas Mavericks are also reportedly interested in Bynum after not getting Howard.
With more than $15 million under the projected salary cap, the Cavs may be interested in offering Bynum a lucrative one-year deal. They don’t want to tie up any money beyond next season because they intend to be active in free agency next summer, when their will be several top-tier players available, maybe even LeBron James, who can opt out of his contract with Miami after next season.
Before he was traded to the 76ers last summer, Bynum played for the Los Angeles Lakers under Cleveland coach Mike Brown. In his one season with Brown, Bynum had his best season, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds. He was acquired by Philadelphia last year from the Lakers as part of a four-team trade, but he never got on the floor and the Sixers disintegrated.
Bynum underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees in March.
Last month, his agent, David Lee, told the AP there’s “not a concern in the world” that Bynum will be ready for training camp.
If the Cavs are able to sign Bynum, and assuming he’s healthy, they would immediately move back into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. Bynum would be added to a nucleus that includes All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, forwards Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson, Jack, guard Dion Waiters and forward Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in last month’s draft.
Gilbert has already stated he expects the Cavs to make the playoffs next season after winning just 66 total games in the three years since James left.