During their one season together in Los Angeles, Andrew Bynum enjoyed his only All-Star season with Mike Brown in charge.
Now that they have been reunited with the Cavaliers, Bynum’s agent doesn’t see any reason why it won’t happen again. In fact, he went so far as to say Bynum’s knees won’t be an issue next season.
“His expectation is to be nothing less than an All-Star next year,” David Lee told the Akron Beacon Journal on Thursday. “Now I don’t know if anybody wants to say that out loud because there’s always a hesitancy to put pressure on himself. But in his mind, absolutely. He doesn’t see any reason why not.”
Bynum chose the Cavaliers in free agency Wednesday in a decision Lee said “really was not a question,” even though he left Cleveland and met with the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks before rendering his decision. The contract likely won’t be signed until next week because of the complicated language involving the $6 million guaranteed and the incentives.
Bynum missed all of last season with knee problems and had arthroscopic surgery on both knees in March. With the free-agent meetings concluded and his decision made, Lee said Bynum is scheduled to resume his training sessions in Atlanta immediately.
“He’s ready to go,” Lee said. “I don’t think [the knees] are going to be a prohibitive issue. I think last year was an aberration for a whole host of reasons.”
Plenty of folks around the league disagree, including some within the Cavaliers organization. When asked Wednesday which knee was worse, a Cavaliers executive responded, “They’re both not good.”
So while Lee expects Bynum to return to All-Star status with healthy knees, the Cavaliers question when Bynum will be able to get on the floor and contribute — if at all. They essentially purchased a $6 million lottery ticket.
A front office executive from an opposing team, who is familiar with Bynum’s history and his knee problems, was asked which side is closer to the truth.
“[The Cavs] are telling the truth,” he said. “What’s the alternative? If this guy plays even a little bit, it’s a lot better than what’s currently available on the market. Now you have to pay him a lot to find out. It’s not a basketball decision. The kid can play if he’s healthy.”
Lee said Brown played an integral role in recruiting Bynum to the Cavs, and it began long before the face-to-face meeting Monday with the top figures in the organization. Brown called Bynum last week and began selling him on the idea. Bynum averaged career highs of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds under Brown with the Lakers two seasons ago.
“Even though Andrew has been in the league for what seems like an eternity, the reality is he’s only 25,” Lee said. “The team is young, he’s young — even though he has a lifetime of experience. I’ve got to admit, he’s pretty excited.”
The last time Bynum met with reporters in March, he said he was confident that he would be able to play at some point in the future, but he was concerned about his health and living a normal life without pain.
“He was talking out of frustration,” Lee said. “I know he had a great deal of frustration this past year.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.