Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum says he is on schedule for return… but doesn’t know schedule


There is no date set yet — Cleveland learned the lesson of putting a timeline on things watching the Philadelphia 76ers. It could be the start of training camp, it could be later. Based on history, maybe much later.

But make no mistake, Andrew Bynum says he is on track to return this season and play for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He told the Plain Dealer he is on schedule (even though there is no public timeframe that would make it a schedule) and he is working out. However, he has not been cleared for full court basketball drills yet.

“I moved here a week after the press conference, I’ve been here ever since — day in and day out just working,” he said, referring to the team’s practice facility. “I’m there, focused. I’m doing everything I can do to get back. That’s what all this is all about for me right now. I just want to play.”

“We’ve been very impressed with Andrew’s work ethic and diligence in this process,” (Cavs GM Chris) Grant said. “He’s doing everything possible to get back on the court as quickly as he can.”

Bynum signed a two-year deal that has only $6 million guaranteed but with incentives that could take the deal to $24 million if they are all met. The second year of the contract is a team option.

At that price this is a good gamble by the Cavs. If healthy, Bynum is one of the best centers in the game. He was a 2012 All-Star and was a big part of a Lakers championship run before that.

However, staying healthy has been an issue. He was in and out of the Lakers lineup then, after his All-Star 2012 season when he played every game, he sat out every game last season for the Sixers (who traded Andre Iguodala for him). Bynum was recovering from knee surgery.

If he plays regularly, the Cavaliers go from a team on the cusp of the playoffs to one firmly in the playoff mix in the East. Bynum has the potential to be a game changer. And Bynum also knows that future paydays are going to depend on his effort on and off the court the next couple seasons, and money motivates him.

As of right now he is on schedule… even though he has no idea what that schedule may be.

“It’s a fluid process,” Bynum said. “I have no idea what the schedule’s going to be for me. But I’m doing everything I can to be ready. I think with the program that has been made up, we have a good chance.

“I’m optimistic I’m where I should be. Obviously, I want to be playing. But I’m taking baby steps, doing what the team and the doctors tell me. I’m doing my part. I come to work every day. I’m moving in the right direction.”

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.