As the Sixers announced yesterday in a press release, Andrew Bynum underwent bilateral arthroscopic surgery on both knees on Tuesday, effectively ending his season. The timeline for his recovery ensures he won't be off crutches until May, just weeks before he'll officially become a free agent. There likely won't be a more interesting case in free agency this summer than Bynum, who was once viewed as a lock for a maximum-salary contract, but is now considered a risk on more than a one-year deal. Here's the latest on the big man, who may never play a game for the Sixers:
- As Jason Wolf of the Courier-Post writes, the Sixers should receive about $6.76MM in salary relief from insurance on Bynum's contract this season. Rod Thorn indicated last week that the club was covered under the league-wide program, which sees the insurance company pay 80% of a disabled player's salary, following a 41-game waiting period. That means insurance will cover 80% of half of Bynum's $16,889,000 salary, for a total of $6,755,600.
- ESPN.com's Chris Broussard (Insider link) spoke to a handful of executives, asking them what sort of deal they anticipate for Bynum this summer, and some were more bullish on the center's prospects than others. Said one exec: "I don't think the guy's going to make a ton of money this summer. He's sat out the whole year. He's not going to make the max. He was on his way to making that for sure. I'd say make him a one-year, partially guaranteed offer."
- Another exec polled by Broussard was more optimistic about Bynum's chances of getting the max for at least the first year: "I think you've got to do a two-year deal; really, a four-year deal…. I would max him the first year, give him the second year half-guaranteed. It'd be fully guaranteed if he plays a certain number of games. So in a four-year deal, the first year is 100% guaranteed; the second year is 50% guaranteed but if you play 60 games the second year, it's fully guaranteed. Same thing in the third year."
- The same exec said he could see the Rockets making an offer like that, but that Mark Cuban and the Mavericks would likely be reluctant to do such a deal.