The Cleveland Cavaliers are pushing for free-agent center Andrew Bynum to accept a two-year, $24 million-plus, incentive-based contract offer, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Monday night.
The Cavaliers met with Bynum in Cleveland on Monday, but could fast lose patience with waiting on the two-time NBA champion center to make a decision on accepting the offer, which includes a team option in the second year of the deal, sources said.
Bynum, 25, left Cleveland to travel to Atlanta to meet with Hawks officials, and Cleveland has begun to engage free agents Andrei Kirilenko and Elton Brand on possible one-year deals that would preclude the Cavaliers from the ability to sign Bynum, league sources said.
Cleveland wants a team option on a second contract year to protect it against losing Bynum to 2014 free agency should his damaged knees heal enough to allow him to make a resurgence this season. The incentives of a possible Bynum contract could include minimal hurdles of completing training camp and reaching minutes and games-played plateaus in the regular season, league sources said.
Bynum's camp has been shopping for one-year, high-money deals that would allow him to hit the market again next year, sources said.
For the Cavaliers, the possibility of a Bynum reclamation project taking shape in Cleveland, coupled with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, could be the cornerstones of a recruiting pitch to bring back LeBron James in the summer of 2014.
Bynum missed the entire 2012-13 season with the Philadelphia 76ers, after chronic knees problems ultimately required surgery. Every team with an interest in Bynum is reluctant to commit significant guaranteed money – never mind long-term years – on a player whom even the most generous of medical opinions consider anything but a significant risk to miss more games this season and beyond.
Bynum had his best NBA season in 2011-12 with the Los Angeles 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 Lakers. Knee injuries have plagued him throughout much of his eight-year NBA career.
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