To sign an extension or wait for free agency, that could be the question.
The rumored trade that would send Andrew Bynum to the Cavaliers, Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers and Anderson Varejao and draft picks to the Orlando Magic reportedly was still being discussed Thursday, but it did not appear close to completion.
Bynum’s agent, David Lee, told Ohio.com he had not even spoken to the Cavs about a contract extension, which Cleveland would likely want before it agreed to the rumored trade.
“I’ve had zero conversations with (Cavs general manager) Chris Grant,” Lee said. “I would imagine any team involved in this trade would be smart enough to talk to us.”
Though some outlets were reporting the framework of a deal had been agreed upon — the Cavs would take on some bad contracts of current Orlando players — the big sticking point is likely Bynum’s reluctance to sign an extension.
The 24-year-old will make $16.47 million this season in the final year of his contract. Though the 7-foot, 285-pounder has stated Cleveland is one of the teams he would consider playing for, he and Lee might want to test the open market at the end of the season.
The Cavs, who have exercised patience while looking for a deal that is favorable to them for the long haul, probably would not agree to the trade without strong assurances Bynum would sign an extension.
The other issue with Bynum is his injury woes, particularly to his knees. Starting last season and going backward, he has missed 6, 28, 17, 32, 47, 0 and 36 games in seven NBA regular seasons.
Like Bynum, Howard is in the final year of his contract and will make $19.26 million in 2012-13, but he is reportedly willing to sign an extension if he lands with the Lakers.
The always active Houston Rockets are also still in the mix to land Howard, the league’s three-time Defensive Player of the Year and most dominant center, while the Brooklyn Nets could try to put together another bid at any time.
As for the rumored deal with the Cavs, it would likely entail Cleveland taking on some unfavorable contracts of other Orlando players.
Some possibilities are Hedo Turkoglu, who will make $23.6 million over the next two seasons, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who will earn $19.4 million over the next three, Jason Richardson, who is scheduled to earn $18.6 million over the next three, and Quentin Richardson, who will make $5.4 million over the next two.
Turkoglu and both Richardsons have player options in the final year of their deals, but they will almost certainly exercise them because they are highly unlikely to make anywhere near as much money as free agents.
The Lakers might also have to take on a couple contracts, but Jason Richardson, who reportedly did not get along well with new point guard Steve Nash when they were in Phoenix, is unlikely to be one of them.
The Cavs will probably try to include veteran forward Luke Walton, scheduled to earn $6.1 million in the final year of his contract, in any three-team deal they might make.
- The Cavs dropped to 2-2 in the NBA Summer League after losing 78-65 to Minnesota (2-1) in Las Vegas. Tristan Thompson, who had 16 points and five rebounds, and Samardo Samuels, who had 14 points and five boards, were the only players to do much of anything for Cleveland. Rookie center Tyler Zeller had two points on 1-for-7 shooting and seven rebounds. Derrick Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft after the Cavs took Kyrie Irving No. 1, led the Timberwolves with 23 points. He was 11-for-16 at the line.
- Shooting guard Dion Waiters, 12-for-40 from the field over the first three games after being chosen with the No. 4 pick in the draft, did not play for the Cavs due to left knee soreness. Waiters, who is about 10 pounds overweight, suffered the mild injury Tuesday against Phoenix.
- The Cavs conclude summer league play today at 4 p.m. against the New York Knicks.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or email@example.com.