Chris Grant made Andrew Bynum a contract offer on Monday. He would guarantee to pay the former All-Star $91,363 less than the Cleveland Cavaliers paid Luke Walton in 2012-13.
That total was reported by ESPN's Marc Stein to be $6 million.
Just added to @espn_macmahon's Andrew Bynum story: Sources say Cavs' 2-year, $24M offer only guaranteed for $6M. Still Drew's highest offer
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 10, 2013
If Bynum was able to hit a number of milestones in year one, Grant would have his boss, Dan Gilbert, kick in another six. Assuming things went really well for Bynum, a player once considered no worse than the second-best center in the NBA as recently as 2012, the Cavs would have the opportunity to keep him for another year.
But only if things went really well.
After digesting the offer, Bynum and his agent–who may or may not play for the Golden State Warriors–then met with Grant's former boss in Atlanta. The following day they traveled to Dallas to sit across the table from Mark Cuban.
All the while, somewhere in Cleveland, the steely eyes behind Chris Grant's glasses never blinked.
He would hold firm at his guaranteed offer of $1,207,688 more than the Cavaliers paid Daniel Gibson last season. That was as much of the salary cap he was willing to commit.
He knew the Cavs also offered Bynum a point guard in Kyrie Irving who is capable of rejuvenating a career put on hold by injuries last season in Philadelphia.
He knew he had a professional big man in Anderson Varejao who could inspire the former Sixer to compete on a daily basis. He knew he had just won the Jackquisition when nobody thought he would, and he knew he just drafted a young star who's been compared to Larry Johnson and Charles Barkley that nobody thought he'd take.
But besides all that, Grant also knew he was holding a trump card that all the Hawks and Mavericks in the world couldn't combine to offer.
Head coach Mike freaking Brown.
Mike Brown cited as big reason Bynum picking Cavs. Felt Cavs wanted him more than others.
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 10, 2013
The same Mike Brown who was laughed at, mocked and left for dead around the league only to return as the superhero of NBA coaching.
The same Mike Brown who Jarrett Jack always respected from a distance and hoped to one day play for. The same Mike Brown who will now coach a team that includes one top-15 NBA player for sure in Kyrie Irving and maybe even another if he's healthy.
Source: Andrew Bynum has decided to sign with Cleveland
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 10, 2013
Bynum could be hurt for the rest of his life and never play another professional basketball game again. That's possible. What makes this signing both significant and exciting, however, is that he also has the potential to be great.
On the two healthiest knees in the world, Ryan Hollins could never be a seven-foot All-Star. Bynum was specifically that once, though, and he could very well be that again.
If he isn't healthy, the Cavs can cut their losses at a number that is less than half of what they spent via amnesty for Baron Davis to leave.
But if Bynum is healthy, expect Mike Brown to lead his seventh team in as many full seasons on the sidelines into the NBA playoffs all over again.
Welcome to the 216, Mr. Bynum. You could really make this season a lot of fun.
Here's hoping things work out for everybody.