Apr. 7, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Ramon Sessions (left) and center Andrew Bynum on the bench during the game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Lakers 125-105. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wine or Gold: Andrew Bynum – Was the Deal Worth it for the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Wine or Gold is a Right Down Euclid original series in which two RDE writers, with different and distinguishing views on a certain topic specifically related to the Cleveland Cavaliers organization, give their side in a two to three paragraph argument to state their stance on how they feel about a certain Wine and Gold topic. With a plethora of writers on staff, there is a lot of room for conflicting feelings, so this series is used to highlight what the writers disagree on and to leave it up to you, the readers, to choose who you think comes out on top. The arguments will always be presented in a for and against format, with the pro way of thinking being the first of the two.

This week website editor Zak Kolesar and staff writer Gerry Nason will be giving their point of view on the Cavaliers’ official signing of Andrew Bynum, which happened this past Friday. Kolesar agrees with the way that the Cleveland front office handled signing an injury-riddled player and feels that his presence on the court will make the Cavaliers one of the most sound rosters in the Eastern Conference. Gerry also agrees that the deal was a steal, especially with all the included incentives, but is still very concerned with the health of both of Bynum’s knees. Read below to see what each of the RDE writers had to say.

Wine — FOR: Zak Kolesar – RDE Co-Editor

It is hard not to ignore the knee problems that Bynum has when doctors have been giving the answer of “both knees” when posed with the question of which knee should be more of a concern for teams. But isn’t guaranteeing Bynum only $6 million out of the $24+ million he could end up making it worth the gamble? At least this squad is making moves instead of sitting idly by and watching other teams make bank by gambling on a player who last took the court at an All-Star level. He has 20/10 potential and could make the Cavaliers, like he said in his press conference last Friday, a playoff team. Since LeBron left, the Cavs have spent less than $7 million in free agency. This season, the team offered forward Earl Clark a two-year, $8.5 million deal (second-year team option and $4.25 million this year), guard Jarrett Jack a four-year, $25.2 million deal (fourth-year team option and $6.3 million this year) and Bynum a two-year, $24.79 million deal (second-year team option and up to $12.25 million this year). This team finally has faith in their young pieces to go after multiple-threat (Clark), veteran (Jack) and defensive-minded (Bynum) players, and the Bynum signing is what adds a whole new dynamic to this squad.

I know if you put a reporter in front of most players that they’re going to say the things that fans want them to hear. Knowing Bynum’s erratic behavior and observing his past season with the Philadelphia 76ers, the big man has a goofy personality. But, judging by the comments he made last offseason when the Cavs were one of the teams looking to become a third member in the Los Angeles Lakers-Orlando Magic dealings, Bynum sees a lot in Irving and has been itching to play with an expert floor general who can make things very easy for him on the offensive end down low. Once Bynum made a leap in playing time (played all 82 games his sophomore season), he started to slowly transform into the All-Star caliber player he can be at a young age. With the players around him in Los Angeles, it was amazing that he was able to do this. Starting from his second season as a Laker, Kobe Bryant led the team (averaged 5.4, 5.4, 4.9, 5.0, and 4.7 assists respectively) in the seasons following his second season. The next year, when he averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds, he had an “extra” distributor in Ramon Sessions after he was traded from the Cavs with 25 games to go in the regular season. When Sessions joined the team, Bynum’s numbers increased to averaging 20 points, and he had logged more 30-plus-point games (five) in that 21-game span than he had in the 39 games prior (two).

I feel bad for the 76ers that Bynum sat on the bench and showed off his hair for the whole season, but this works out perfectly for the Cavs. We didn’t take the gamble in paying him $16.8 million in dealing with the Magic and Lakers, so we avoided signing a player we desperately wanted and needed until later on only to end up spending less cash. This is a huge win for Grant and the Cleveland front office.  He took a season off, so his knees are theoretically well rested compared to what they were when he signed with Philadelphia. This team could implode, however, with the recent past they have had with injuries to key players, but with the team Grant has assembled in the past three offseasons, they are poised for a turn in fortune. That means that the New Jersey boys (Kyrie and Bynum both went to New Jersey high schools) could have one of the best relationships in the NBA by the season’s end if we see them on the court healthy at the same time.

Gold — AGAINST: Gerry Nason – RDE Staff Writer

Bynum on the surface appears to be exactly what the doctor has ordered for the Cavs. He is a big, strong center with a history of success for a world championship team. What more could you ask for – especially when you get him at a discount price.

However, I am skeptical about Bynum for a few reasons. The obvious is the health of his knees. He has endured several major operations on both knees, the last of which cost him the entire 2012-13 season. The fact that he refused to work out for prospective employers is a huge red flag. What is he hiding? If he isn’t hiding something, then is laziness or a lack of motivation the reason for this reluctance? Regardless, the knees will always be a concern for any team signing Bynum, including the Cavs.

Secondly, even though Bynum has agreed to terms two Wednesdays ago, he finally signed a contract with the Cavs this past Friday. The fact that this is dragged on is reason enough to wonder if he intended on following thru with his acceptance. Another possibility is that he could have been negotiating for more than what he agreed to. Personally, I always hate when I have a deal struck and the other party starts to ask for more. For the Cavs sake, I hope it works out, but I wouldn’t recommend getting your hopes up with Bynum. There are a lot of hurdles still yet to face before the first game is even played.

Make sure to sound off in the comment section below on who you thought won the argument or to provide your own thoughts on the aforementioned situation.

Tags: Andrew Bynum Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Free Agency

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