In the category of foregone conclusions: Come Monday, if things go according to plan, Andrew Bynum will no longer be a Cleveland Cavalier. His performance — and his as-yet-undisclosed "detrimental conduct" — were enough to persuade Chris Grant and the front office that he wasn't worth the hassle of retaining. Bynum's contract is structured in such a way that if he's waived by January 7, he's not owed an additional $6 million.
So for all the Los Angeles-based tweeters appalled by rumors of a Bynum-Pau Gasol swap, sleep soundly in the knowledge that they (the rumors) had nothing to do with on-court basketball stuff and everything to do with money stuff. And sleep soundly, moreover, in the knowledge that those rumors have all but fizzled.
Nonetheless, it would seem the Cavs' have some suitors for Bynum and the savings his contract represents:
Cavs mulling a few trade scenarios for Andrew Bynum, with target of Monday to choose one. Unlikely Cavs send out significant asset w/ Bynum.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 3, 2014
Get comfortable with losing Bynum. That's going to happen. His conduct detrimental to the team, though, at this point, is largely irrelevant. For all we know, that conduct may have been utterly fabricated by Grant & Co. to justify a potential trade or waive.
The other good news for the Cavs is that it looks like they won't be parting with future draft picks, and certainly not first-rounders. Chris Grant, though his selections have been disparaged — and with good reason — has accumulated a great deal of them over the course of the past three years. A major knock on Grant, though, management-wise, is that he overvalues his picks, and won't part with, say, Zeller or Bennett or Waiters without payouts beyond league standards and even creative interpretations of their contributions as professional basketball players.
It remains to be seen what Bynum will garner on the market, but teams that have failed to live up to expectations — via injury or incoherence — seem to be enticed by the prospect of dumping a major salary to the Cavs (who remain postseason-optimistic in the atrocious East) and then waiving the big fella to see what they can collect in 2014 free agency.
At least one Cavs fan would have loved to have seen Bynum return to form in a Cavaliers' uniform. He certainly had flashes of brilliance. Given an attitude shift (which, in all likelihood, won't dawn until he's on a contender with not only legitimate prospects but a functioning offense) he could be a difference maker on a playoff team.
As for the Cavs, they managed to steal a win from the Orlando Magic in overtime last night thanks to the hustle heroics of Anderson Varejao, who tied a single-game franchise record with 25 rebounds. Matthew Dellavedova also provided his late-game nitty-gritty defensive tactics for which he's become known league-wide.
Kyrie Irving was on the sideline, nursing a knee contusion which he sustained in a fall against the Pacers on New Year's Eve. News broke earlier this afternoon that Irving will not be traveling with the team for Saturday's matchup against Brooklyn, who won a stunner last night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.