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Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Bynum Put on "Paid Leave," but Real Problems Are in Front Office

The Cavs Are a Mess and Management Seems to Be Looking for Scapegoats at This Point

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Andrew Bynum signed with the Cavaliers in July 2013.
COMMENTARY | The Cleveland Cavaliers suspended center Andrew Bynum for conduct detrimental to the team last Saturday as the Cavs took on the Boston Celtics. He was docked one game check, which costed him about $111,000.


Now, his suspension is over, but he still remains excused from all team activities indefinitely. In other words, Bynum is on "paid leave" as the Cavs don't want him around anymore. As a result, he missed last night's loss against the Warriors. Trade rumors are swirling and things are getting ugly.

The original cause for Bynum's suspension remains unclear, but according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer, it was "inevitable."

Bynum has always been known for his strange ways, whether it involves his haircuts, or his decision to bowl with an injured knee that was keeping him out of games in Philadelphia last year. However, he's been unfairly pegged as a distraction in Cleveland.

Obviously he's earned his reputation as a wild card, but to me, it seems as if the Cavs are using him as a scapegoat for their disappointing season.

The Plain Dealer's Boyer also reported that Bynum had been displaying a disruptive pattern of behavior that culminated with him throwing up crazy shots and appearing uninterested in practice last Friday.

That's understandable, but it's basically common practice when it comes to Bynum at this point. Cleveland knew exactly what it was getting into when it signed Bynum, and its issues shouldn't be blamed on the big man.

People forget that Bynum is only 26 years old, and that it would be extremely frustrating to deal with a continuous barrage of injuries that prohibit one from working. Bynum may be predictably unpredictable, but it's ludicrous to even insinuate that this terrible season is his fault.

Just to do a quick recap of this season so far: there were whispers of Dion Waiters punching Kyrie Irving in the face during a dreaded players-only meeting; then those were shot down by players; there were rumors of Waiters demanding a trade; and then we had Waiters denying those rumors.

To me, it sounds like Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers have moved on to a different scapegoat, going from Waiters to Bynum.

Gilbert is known for letting his pride get in the way of running his team, and it just happens that Cleveland had scheduled an Andrew Bynum Fathead giveaway for last night's game against the Warriors. As it works out, the giveaway was cancelled because Bynum was not with the team. This all seems coincidental, until you realize one thing.

Along with the Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert also owns Fathead. So, one could surmise that the Cavs' owner got too prideful once again.

It looks like Gilbert wasn't willing to celebrate a player whom he is not happy with. I know this is a bit of a crazy accusation, but I wouldn't put anything past Gilbert. It would've been too obvious of a ploy to suspend Bynum on the day of his giveaway, so he did it on Saturday.

Oh, and just for another little tidbit, an enlarged image of LeBron James' face is listed on fathead.com's best-selling "hot list."

You can't make this stuff up. Gilbert was willing to degrade James in an open letter (in Comic Sans font none-the-less) for leaving his precious Cavs, but he has no problem profiting off of James' face. Ridiculous.

When it boils down to it, yes Bynum can be a distraction, but the Cavaliers as whole are a bigger one.

It all trickles down from the top. I'm sure Dan Gilbert cares about the team, but definitely not more than he cares about himself, and that's a mindset that you just can't have as an owner. The most successful owners in sports rarely make headlines on their own, and we all know that's not the case with Gilbert.

Currently, the Cavaliers are a prime example of a contender on paper, but a loser on the court. The roster looks great in hand, but when the pieces are on the hardwood it doesn't work out.

Cleveland GM Chris Grant should be on the hot seat for the reaches he's taken. Drafting Anthony Bennett number one overall was risky, but signing Andrew Bynum took it to another level. He then went on to draft Sergey Karasev 19th overall, and he just got back from a stint in the D-League, where Bennett should also have been.

On top of that, he signed Jarrett Jack knowing that it would take away from Waiters minutes and create issues, and he also inked Earl Clark knowing that it would be a struggle to get him the minutes he deserves. Oh yeah, and Tyler Zeller already looks like a sure bust.

Of course though, he did draft Kyrie, and that's why he still has a job. The majority of his moves are the definition of a "high risk/high reward" strategy, and the rewards are nowhere to be found.

Cleveland has lost seven of its last eight games after showing some promise towards the end of November and early December. The team is as dysfunctional as ever and the powerhouse Pacers loom on the schedule tomorrow.

The problems don't stem from the players, and if Cleveland still wants any shot at getting LeBron back, it needs to make some serious changes in management. Kyrie is carrying this delusional franchise on his back, and he has to be getting tired of it.

The Cavaliers can blame Waiters and Bynum for their problems all they want, but the real problems are in the front office. They brought this upon themselves and the proverbial you-know-what is inching closer and closer to the fan.

Alex Marcheschi is a senior at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University who regularly watches the Cavs on FSN Ohio. Get buckets.

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