By Kenny Roda | ESPNCleveland.com
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert now knows how you feel when you walk into his casino and gamble your money.
Like you, he’s hoping to hit the jackpot and not bust or crap out with the signing of Andrew Bynum.
Gilbert gave the okay to G.M. Chris Grant to sign the often-injured free agent center to a two-year deal. However, Gilbert hedged his bet on Bynum by only guaranteeing $6 million of the possible $24 million dollars Bynum could earn. The remaining $18 million could go into Bynum’s bank account if he meets certain incentives, based mostly on games played this year and potentially next year. If Bynum’s knees hold up and he performs for Mike Brown like he did two seasons ago with the Lakers when he was an All-Star and a 2nd team All-NBA performer - JACKPOT! If he performs like he did last year for the 76ers, not playing a single minute of a single game - CRAPS!
Gilbert feels it is a risk worth taking and here’s why. Bynum is only 25 years old. When healthy, he’s arguably one of the top 3 centers in the league. He has playoff experience, including a triple/double in a playoff game and was part of two championship teams with the Lakers. He once pulled down 30 rebounds in a game and scored 42 points in another. There’s the potential of a Kyrie Irving/Andrew Bynum pick and roll tandem. If he’s healthy and comes close to averaging the 18 points and 11 rebounds per game he averaged during the 2011-12 season, the Cavaliers will be a playoff team this coming season. Bynum could draw potential free agents like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or Danny Granger to Cleveland next summer. Even if it doesn’t work out with Bynum, his salary comes off the books at the end of the season.
However there is a downside, like if he doesn’t play at all. That’s what happened last year in Philadelphia, which is possible. If so, then you’ve thrown away $6 million dollars and probably don’t make the playoffs and thus the Cavs organization doesn’t look as appealing to potential free agents in the summer of 2014.
After three long, losing seasons, this move is a gamble. But Dan Gilbert and the Cavs had to do something in order to change their luck and get back to their winning ways.
Kenny Roda covers the Cavaliers for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 WKNR and ESPNCleveland.com
Follow Kenny on Twitter @RoadmanWKNR
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