Once Andrew Bynum clears the waivers, there will be plenty of teams trying to sign him. On top of the suitors list are the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers, who can also offer him more than a minimum contract.
The Bynum experiment didn’t work out in Cleveland, and the Cavs were able to cut him loose before committing a lot more money. Whether it was a general motivation problem or simply having an issue with being on a team that doesn’t seem to be doing too well, both sides seemed quite happy to end the short relationship.
But what now? There are several reports that suggest the Heat and the Clippers are the top contenders for Bynum, and they’re also topping his list of options. The Miami Heat need a center to put on Roy Hibbert in the Eastern Conference Finals, which seem set in stone according to pretty much everyone. The Clippers have a solider starter, but Ryan Hollins and Antawn Jamison coming off the bench could use an upgrade.
There’s more, with the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks all about to reach out to him as well. The Mavs need help at center, and the Nets / Knicks could use any kind of help, so when a guy who can post double doubles if he gets the right kind of minutes (and he will for bad teams) becomes available, they’ll go after him. The problem is that Bynum might be looking for more than a minimum contract. These three teams can’t offer anything more than the league minimum.
So the Heat and Clippers? Not so fast. First, it’s about what Bynum decides is most important to him. If it is about challenging for an NBA title and being part of a winning franchise, regardless of the minutes he’ll get (and he will be a bench player for both teams), than the choice is obvious. There’s also a good chance that being a part of a locker room filled with champions and experience will set him straight, just like it did while playing for the Lakers before he became too big for his own good in terms of ego and importance.
The Clippers are more likely to take Bynum on without considering how he might affect the team’s chemistry. Adding pieces in order to upgrade their standing in the West might make them slightly desperate. The Miami Heat are a bit more cautious and in no rush to add anyone else to their team. That urgency might be the deciding factor in where Bynum eventually chooses to go.