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NBA coast to coast: Andrew Bynum wears out welcome in another city

Ex-Laker Andrew Bynum is already on the outs in Cleveland. The Cavaliers could trade or waive him, but keeping him may be more prudent.

January 04, 2014|By Ben Bolch
  • Andrew Bynum became known as much for his hairstyles as his inability to play during a lost season with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Andrew Bynum became known as much for his hairstyles as his inability to… (Matt Rourke / Associated…)

Farewell, Cleveland?

Andrew Bynum never makes anything easy.

Whether he's parking in handicap spaces, jacking up three-pointers early in the shot clock or bowling for bad knees, the center of apprehension can't seem to go two months without causing a major headache.

That's how far he got into the season before irking the Cleveland Cavaliers, who suspended the 7-footer for one game last week and then excused him from team activities indefinitely as a result of the dreaded "conduct detrimental to the team."

Bynum reportedly was not acting like he wanted to be part of the Cavaliers' rebuilding efforts. He was fighting through lingering soreness in his knees that had caused him to question whether he wanted to keep playing, and his team's shoddy record only exacerbated his pain.

Cleveland now must answer a $6-million question by Tuesday, when that amount of Bynum's $12.3-million contract for this season becomes guaranteed: Do the Cavaliers waive the troubled player, trade him or keep him?

Trading Bynum relieves them of someone whose modest averages of 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds hardly made him worth all the fuss. Possible trade partners include the Lakers and Utah, though the Lakers' desire to receive an additional asset in a proposed deal involving Pau Gasol may scuttle that possibility. The Jazz reportedly would accept less in a trade involving Richard Jefferson.

Waiving Bynum would save money but leave the Cavaliers with Anderson Varejao as their starting center and the underwhelming Tyler Zeller as his backup.

Keeping Bynum might make sense even if the team intends to sit him for the rest of the season. In that scenario, Cleveland could trade Bynum this summer because his $12.5-million contract for 2014-15 is non-guaranteed, making him attractive to teams seeking salary cap space because they could acquire him and immediately waive him.

As far as some Cavaliers fans are concerned, they've already waved goodbye.

High attitude

There was a familiar fizz inside the Pepsi Center on Friday night after the struggling Denver Nuggets had reached a Rocky Mountain low.

The team had lost eight consecutive games and its savviest veteran, suspending Andre Miller for two games after the reserve point guard angrily confronted Coach Brian Shaw in full view of fans over Shaw's decision not to play a healthy Miller on Wednesday against Philadelphia. It was the first DNP-Coach's Decision of Miller's 15-season career.

A lengthy airing-out-grievances session between coaches and players ensued the next day, followed by the team's decision to rescind its suspension of Miller while granting him a two-game paid leave.

Smart moves.

Buoyed by the emotional release, the Nuggets raced to a double-digit lead against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday before holding on for a 111-108 victory.

"It's a wonderful feeling," Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried told the Denver Post. "We got the monkey off our back and we can't put it back on."

Miller will also sit out Denver's game against the Lakers on Sunday at Staples Center, but the player and his team could be in a much happier place by the time they're reunited Monday.

—Ben Bolch

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