The Cleveland Cavaliers will guarantee $6 million of a possible $24.5 million to free agent Andrew Bynum in a two-year, incentive-laden contract that the two-time NBA champion center agreed upon on Wednesday, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.
Bynum's history of knee problems, including losing the entire 2012-13 season to injury, is the reason that teams are so cautious with committing guaranteed money and contract years to him.
After visiting with Cleveland, Atlanta and Dallas in successive days, Bynum chose the Cavaliers' deal on Wednesday night.
The agreement includes reasonable incentives on playing time and games played for this season that could pay Bynum $12 million, a league source said. The Cavaliers hold an option for the 2014-15 season worth $12.5 million.
For the Cavaliers, the possibility of a Bynum reclamation project taking shape in Cleveland, coupled with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, will be cornerstones of a recruiting pitch to bring back Miami Heat star LeBron James in the summer of 2014.
Bynum missed the entire 2012-13 season with the Philadelphia 76ers after his chronic knee problems required surgery.
Bynum had his best NBA season in 2011-12 with the Lakers, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds. He was sent to the 76ers as part of the four-team deal that delivered Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. Knee injuries have plagued him throughout much of his seven-year NBA career.
Because of the deteriorating reality of Bynum's knees, there remains skepticism over how much he'll be able to contribute to the Cavaliers next season and beyond. Nevertheless, there was reason to believe, based on a medical examination, that he could be cleared and ready to start the season, sources told Y! Sports.
Bynum wasn't willing to work out for NBA teams, but did cede to medical examinations in Cleveland, Atlanta and Dallas.
Dallas never made an offer, one league source said. Bynum accepted the Cleveland deal shortly after finishing up a day of medical exams and meetings in Dallas on Wednesday.
Doubts about the aggressiveness of Bynum's effort in rehabilitating his knee injuries since missing the season have caused some teams to fully back away from making any offer to him, league sources said.
ESPN first reported Bynum chose the Cavaliers.