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.”