Teams around the NBA are unwilling to give Andrew Bynum more than the minimum salary, as the client of agent David Lee continues to demand, in part because of questions about his desire to play, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Most of the teams linked to Bynum since the Bulls waived him January 7th have backed away from the center who made the All-Star Game two years ago, including the Heat and the Clippers, the pair of clubs Bynum reportedly has the most interest in playing for.
Of his preferred destinations, the Heat have the most to offer, since they still have their $3.183MM taxpayer’s exception available. The Clippers are limited to the minimum. Bynum has reportedly viewed the Celtics as a fallback option, but they’d be hard-pressed to offer much more than the minimum, since doing so would push them over the tax line. In any case, midseason signings for greater than the minimum are rare, even for teams with money to burn.
Questions regarding Bynum’s commitment to the game have dogged the center as he’s battled through an array of knee injuries. He didn’t play at all last season with the Sixers, and while he showed occasional glimpses of his one-time stellar level of play with the Cavs this year, Bynum admitted that he remained physically limited, and he said that the thought of retirement continued to cross his mind.
The 26-year-old averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 20.0 minutes per game for Cleveland this season. The Cavs sent him home in the days leading up to January 7th as they attempted to trade him before his contract, which was partially guaranteed for $6MM, would become fully guaranteed for $12.25MM. Cleveland sent him to the Bulls on the eve of that deadline, and Chicago promptly cut Bynum loose to avoid paying his full salary.