Andrew Bynum feels sharp pain every time he runs or jumps and probably will all season

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We know when Andrew Bynum plays, and we know when he doesn’t.

Sometimes, it’s easy to evaluate Bynum’s health in those same binary terms.

Watching Bynum clearly reveals a combination of injury and rust have robbed him of his athleticism, but whether Bynum feels fine or not is a different story. He might feel well enough to play, but the rest is much grayer.

Jodie Valade of The Plain Dealer:

Any time Andrew Bynum runs up and down the court, he feels sharp pain in his knees. It’s not as bad as it was last season, when he didn’t play a single NBA game. It hurts most when he attempts to jump in any way or make any kind of explosive movement.

So he’s accepted that his game – for this season, at least, but maybe forever – will be limited to what he can accomplish from the space he takes up with his 7-foot, 285-pound frame.

“I’ll just stick to the floor,” Bynum said Monday. “Ground game. Position defense and position offense on the ground.”

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That’s why Bynum has considered retirement. How many of you would continue your job if its basic responsibilities caused sharp pain, especially if you’d already made enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life?

Here’s why Bynum hasn’t retired, though: He’s adjusting reasonably well.

Bynum has made just 8-of-23 shots in the restricted area this season (34.8 percent), well down from the 68.0 percent he made previously in his career. But his 2-point shooting outside the restricted area is up from 38.4 percent to 43.9 percent.

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Defensively, Bynum has a career-high 5.8 block percentage. Cleveland’s opponents also shoot a little worse in the restricted area when Bynum is on the court. He can still jump a little to block shots, and he chooses his opportunities well.

But Bynum also camps out underneath the basket, because he lacks mobility. The Cavaliers’ opponents shoot considerably better in the paint but outside the restricted area when Bynum is on the court, and that partially explains why Cleveland’s defensive rating is worse with Bynum on the court.

To Bynum’s credit, it seems he’s making the most of his physical limitations.

How much is a physically limited Bynum worth, though?

The Cavaliers can waive Bynum by Jan. 7 and pay him just $6 million this season. There are other considerations besides how Bynum has produced so far – or even how he’ll produce the rest of this season. If he returns to peak form in 2014-15, though unlikely, Bynum would be a bargain at $12.54.

But a so-so jump-shooting center with limited defensive range just isn’t that valuable, even if he’s maximizing his value.

Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan staying in 2017 NBA draft

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Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan declared for the 2016 NBA draft, struggled at the combine, withdrew, got into great shape, had an All-American sophomore season, declared for the 2017 draft.

This time, he’s not turning back.

Swanigan:

Swanigan is a borderline first-round pick. He has a couple NBA-ready skills the good teams that typically pick late in the first round might covet, but thanks to trades, teams that didn’t win a playoff game this year hold most late first-round picks. They might pick someone with more upside than Swanigan.

Swanigan is a tenacious rebounder, particularly defensively. He has excellent fundamentals, size (6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan) and ability to read the ball, and he crashes through contact to hunt boards.

He’s also a quality post-up player who can finish with either hand and has the passing ability to make that play work.

But Swanigan is slow. NBA teams have become increasingly adept at running plodders like him off the court by dragging them into pick-and-rolls. Even when on the court, he hasn’t protected the rim at satisfactory levels.

Swanigan has overcome his athletic limitations as a rebounder. He hasn’t done so in other facets of defense.

He’s hardly a dinosaur offensively. He made 45% of his 3-pointers last season, and though I’m not confident that will translate to NBA 3-point range (give the small sample and his form), he should be at least a midrange threat.

Swanigan is also just 20, young for a sophomore. He can improve.

But it’s just hard to look past his defensive limitations.

Hawks hire Travis Schlenk as general manager

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The Hawks picked Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk as their next general manager. All that was left was negotiating terms.

That’s done.

Hawks:

The Atlanta Hawks today announced the hiring of Travis Schlenk as General Manager and Head of Basketball Operations. He will start leading Hawks basketball operations on June 1.

Schlenk worked his way up the latter and helped the Warriors become the envy of every other NBA team. He deserves this opportunity.

But the job won’t be easy.

The Hawks are stuck between two directions. On one side, they have veterans Paul Millsap (a 32-year-old pending unrestricted free agent whom the owner has basically promised a huge contract) and Dwight Howard (who sounds unhappy). On the other side, they have a youth movement featuring Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince. Tim Hardaway Jr., who bridges the age groups, is about to enter a potentially tricky restricted free agency.

Keeping the core together offers the upside of a playoff-series victory or two annually, modest outcomes for the cost. But a fragile Atlanta fan base might not tolerate a rebuild.

Schlenk works for owner Tony Ressler, and Ressler sounds committed to maintaining the status quo by keeping Millsap. It’s now Schlenk’s job to execute that vision or convince his boss to approve a different direction.

Potential none-and-done first-rounder Hamidou Diallo returning to Kentucky

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The more I’ve looked into the 2017 NBA draft, the less impressed I’ve become. There are a few bright spots in the first round relative to an average draft – No. 2, 5ish-10ish, 17ish-22ish – but I’m not convinced this is the generationally strong draft it has been touted as.

In the absence of prospects who offer secure promise, why not turn to upside? Hamidou Diallo offered plenty and was increasingly viewed as a first-rounder.

Yet, he’ll return to Kentucky for his freshman season.

Diallo:

A highly ranked recruit, Diallo began last school year at a prep school then enrolled at Kentucky for the spring semester. He practiced with the Wildcats, but never played.

Then, he went to the combine and posted excellent measurables: 6-foot-5, 6-foot-11 wingspan, 44.5-inch vertical and strong agility and sprint scores. Just 18, Diallo might have been the second-youngest player drafted this year (behind only Ike Anigbogu).

It wouldn’t have taken long – likely somewhere in the middle of the first round – for a team to bite on all that potential.

Instead, Diallo returns to Kentucky and must now show his ability to actually produce in basketball games. If he does, there’s no limit on how high he goes in the 2018 NBA draft. If he doesn’t, he’ll regret missing the opportunity to get drafted before his game got picked apart.

Report: Bulls expect Dwyane Wade to opt in

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Dwyane Wade said he wants to see the Bulls’ plan for Jimmy Butler and the rest of the roster before deciding on a $23.8 million player option for next season.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

I can tell you is most everyone associated with the Bulls believes Wade will pick up the option and remain in Chicago for a second season. More surprising things have happened in league history, though. So stay tuned.

This could be a tell that Wade will opt in. The Bulls could obviously be positioned to base their prediction on inside information into Wade’s thinking.

This could a tell the Bulls won’t trade Butler. If they know they’ll keep Butler, they can extrapolate what that’d mean for Wade.

Or the Bulls, like so many of us, just assume a 35-year-old Wade won’t turn down so much guaranteed money at this stage of his career.