Will Bynum has officially signed with China’s Guangdong Southern Tigers, the team announced (translation via Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, via Twitter). The guaranteed deal is worth more than $1MM, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote overnight. Bynum will replace marquee draft prospect Emmanuel Mudiay while he recovers from his sprained ankle, initially on a temporary basis, and the team will decide later whether to make the move permanent based on how the ankle responds and the way Bynum plays, Givony notes (Twitter link). Wojnarowski first reported the sides were nearing a deal late Thursday.
Mudiay’s timetable for recovery is three to four weeks, according to the club, and with 13 games this month, Guangdong wants to have a capable replacement, while Mudiay wants to take a cautious approach, as Givony explains (Twitter links). Mudiay hasn’t been making as much progress as Guangdong would have liked with the injury, which has kept him out since November 24th, and there was some disagreement over his recovery timetable, according to Givony (on Twitter). The 18-year-old played 10 games before the injury, averaging 17.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.9 assists, and NBA executives told Wojnarowski that his performance helped his draft stock. Mudiay, who abruptly scuttled plans to play for Southern Methodist University this season to sign a one-year deal worth $1.2MM with Guangdong this past summer, is No. 2 in the prospect rankings of both Givony and Chad Ford of ESPN.com. The Spurs and Suns were among several teams to scout Mudiay early in the season, but the ankle injury kept others from traveling to observe the 6’5″ point guard, Wojnarowski writes.
Bynum, a Mark Bartelstein client, is landing an attractive overseas deal after the Celtics waived his guaranteed contract, worth nearly $2.916MM, in a crunch for roster space shortly after acquiring him from the Pistons in a preseason trade. The Chinese deal should allow Boston to recoup a small portion of that amount through set-off rights, though that amount wouldn’t be nearly as much as what Bynum’s new contract gives him. The seven-year NBA veteran will presumably be eligible to return stateside for the stretch run of the regular season, if not sooner.