As of 6:00 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, Andrew Bynum has cleared waivers and is now an unrestricted free agent.
A quick reminder of how we got here — Bynum was suspended by the Cavaliers for “conduct detrimental to the team,” a short-term solution while they attempted to trade him before his contract would become fully guaranteed on Jan. 7.
The Lakers and Jazz were reportedly in the mix, but it was the Bulls who offered up Luol Deng, and that was enough to get the Cavaliers to pull the trigger. Chicago saved money by waiving Bynum, and got a future protected first round pick in exchange for a player that would be leaving this summer in free agency. Cleveland, meanwhile, got a half-season rental of a two-time All-Star in Deng, which will only enhance their playoff chances.
Now that Bynum is available, there are several teams interested — eight, to be exact. The Heat and the Clippers are reportedly at the top of Bynum’s wish list, but it’s unclear whether the dollars available will be enough to get Bynum to sign with one of those contenders.
(Rob Mahoney of SI.com has a great breakdown of which teams can offer how much.)
L.A.’s interest may be impacted by Chris Paul’s injury, and in Miami, the Heat don’t need bigs for the regular season, and they already have Greg Oden working his way back in case a postseason matchup against the Pacers and Roy Hibbert is indeed on the horizon.
Bynum is going to have to prove he still has the desire to play when meeting with teams, and that will have as much as anything to do with the offers that may come in for his services. If he truly wants back in, he will find a home somewhere this season; exactly where and under what terms remains to be seen.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.