Free Agency: Wednesday News and Notes Wrap
- By: Perry Missner
- On: 7/10/2013 6:33:00 PM
- View Comments : 0
Coming into the 2012-13 season, Andrew Bynum was one of the biggest question marks heading into the season. How would he get along with 76ers coach Doug Collins? When would he get back on the court? As it turned out, his relationship with Collins (since fired) was inconsequential because he did not play at all. For all intents and purposes, Bynum acted as Shiva the Destroyer to the 76ers, who are now headed toward Tanksville. On Wednesday, Bynum agreed to an incentive-laden contract with the Cavaliers who are looking to get back into the playoffs. The signing reunites Bynum with coach Mike Brown for whom he had his best season in 2011-12 with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds. There is no guarantee that Bynum can get back to that level (when he was being mentioned in the same breath as Dwight Howard), but this is a worthy risk by Cleveland. If Howard can return, he could make Anderson Varejao expendable. Or the two Cavalier bigs could virtually own the boards. Despite his seven years of experience, Bynum is just 25 years old and could easily be the best center in the Eastern Conference (unless Roy Hibbert continues to improve). Unlike Philadelphia, Cleveland has not mortgaged their future with Bynum because they hold a team option on his contract for 2014-15. Bynum will represent one of the biggest fantasy conundrums for drafting. Drafters will have to pay attention to his rehab (which has gone slowly), but he could be a player that will tilt fantasy leagues if he does play.
The rest of the deals that happened on Wednesday were relatively minor and will likely not have much fantasy relevance. However, many of these players will be available on waiver wires and could contribute in some areas. For example, former-Cavs guard Wayne Ellington signed with the Mavericks. Ellington has hit 38.2 percent of his 3-point attempts over his career and the former Tar Heel could slide into O.J. Mayo's starting spot. He could be a player to watch if your fantasy team needs 3-pointers.
Bynum's former team, the Lakers, made a pair of moves to sign backup center Robert Sacre and former backup point guard Jordan Farmar. Sacre will back up Chris Kaman, but could get significant minutes if Kaman suffers injuries. The former Gonzaga Bulldog could also get minutes if the Lakers decide to tank. Farmar, who started his career with the Lakers in 2006, had been playing in Turkey. Farmar left the NBA during the lockout in 2011 and played a year in Israel and a year in Turkey. Farmar should provide guard depth for the Lakers and could be pressed into more time if Steve Nash isn't healthy.
Speaking of players returning to teams that drafted them, Corey Brewer returns to Minnesota after spending parts of the last three seasons elsewhere. The former lottery pick had his best season in 2009-10 when he started all 82 games for the Timberwolves and averaged 13.0 points. He served as part of the bench crew for the Nuggets last year and scored 12.1 points along with solid perimeter defense. With Minnesota, he will likely share time with Chase Buddinger and Kevin Martin on the wing. To open up salary cap (and to continue this column's theme), the Timberwolves traded Luke Ridnour back to Milwaukee, where he will likely come off the bench.
Both Buddinger and Martin used to play for the Rockets who gained a guard on Wednesday in Reggie Williams. The former VMI Keydet was a solid 3-point shooter for the first two seasons in the league with the Warriors. His play fell off in the past two years with the Bobcats and he only averaged 3.7 points in 9.5 minutes for one of the league's worst teams. He should get plenty of open 3-point looks if he can get playing time with Houston. With Golden State, he was also able to facilitate the offense, so he could return to that role as a reserve with the Rockets.
The Pelicans found a replacement for Robin Lopez in Greg Stiemsma. The former Celtic and Timberwolf will provide low-post defense, so that Anthony Davis won't have to lean on opposing centers. New Orleans cut Lance Thomas. Tyrus Thomas was also waived by the Bobcats. The former lottery pick has not been able to find a consistent role, despite being one of the bounciest athletes to come out of LSU.