Fresh off the release of Cartier Martin, the Hawks are being mentioned as a potential suitor for Andrew Bynum, who was released yesterday by the Chicago Bulls after the Cleveland Cavaliers sent him to Chicago for Luol Deng.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard was the first to report teams interested in Bynum:
I’m told 8 teams are interested in signing A Bynum, most notably Heat & Clips. Playing time, contender status & $ all factors in decision.
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) January 8, 2014
The Hawks are among the 8 teams and the idea of him in a Hawks uniform isn’t out of the question here. The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers seem more possible with their status as contenders, however the Heat chose to guarantee Roger Mason Jr and Michael Beasley for the season, keeping their roster at 15 players. The Clippers did choose to waive Stephen Jackson, opening up a spot on their roster. The Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks have also been mentioned to have interest in the Center.
The Hawks have the most cap space of the teams mentioned above, and the loss of Al Horford frees up plenty of minutes for Bynum as well. Whether he fits with what the Hawks are looking for is the question. Bynum was suspended from the Cavaliers days before the trade, the reasoning for the suspension was never released, however Adrian Wojnarowski reported this following the suspension:
About Bynum suspension, league source tells Yahoo: “He doesn’t want to play basketball anymore. He never liked it that much in first place.”
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 28, 2013
After reading that, it’s a wonder which Andrew Bynum the Hawks will be getting each night on the floor if they chose to sign him.
Bynum was once considered one of the top Centers in the league, receiving the All-Star nod in 2012, but it has been down hill since as he sat the entire 2012-13 season due to injury. The Cavs gave him a shot this season, signing him to a 2 year 24 million dollar contract, with only 6 million guaranteed.
The former 10th overall draft choice appeared in 24 games for the Cavs, starting 19 and averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Bynum is at his lowest PER since 2006-07(15.4) and adding a player that has reported to be a problem in the locker room this season may not be the best idea for the Hawks, who continue to look for stability after losing Al Horford for the season.
The Hawks could use another center, and a fully healthy Andrew Bynum could give Atlanta a resurgence into the conversation as one of the better teams in the East. However, Bynum will look for a guaranteed contract and risking the flexibility of a roster spot for someone who may not live up to expectations probably isn’t the answer for a team that is supposed to be in a transition year.
Andrew Bynum will be cleared from waivers by the end of the week and is expected to sign with a new team shortly after.
Atlanta will likely continue to be considered a possible destination until he chooses his new team.