Andrew Bynum learning the market for his services isn’t that strong

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Andrew Bynum missed all of last season in Philadelphia — well, basketball season, he got some bowling in. He got into 24 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season but saw his minutes dwindle as he is shooting just 41.9 percent and his rebounding percentage dropped. He was average on the court, at best. Combine that with the fact his reputation around the league is he doesn’t love the game and doesn’t work hard enough to play through his knee issues, and nobody thought there was going to be much of a market for the big man.

Well, except Bynum. Apparently.

He has always been a guy really driven by the dollar (and whatever he found interesting at that moment, which was not always basketball) and after losing $6 million in salary this season when he was traded to Chicago and promptly waived, he wants to recoup some of that “lost” money. He wants more than the minimum.

But Bynum is discovering the market for him is just not strong anymore, reported Marc Stein at ESPN.

Teams with a known interest, sources said, include Dallas and New York, but both of those suitors, like the Clippers, are restricted to offering a minimum salary. Bynum, meanwhile, is said to be looking for an offer above the league minimum to recoup more of the $6 million he lost when Chicago waived Bynum immediately Tuesday after acquiring him in a trade for Luol Deng…

The Miami Heat were widely considered co-favorites in the Bynum hunt — along with the Clippers — as soon as the injury-riddled big man became a free agent. Miami still has its taxpayer midlevel exception of nearly $3.2 million available to chase Bynum, but how much of that the Heat are willing to spend is another source of uncertainty given their luxury-tax situation.

I think the early leaks of the Heat and Clippers as frontrunners came more from the wishful thinking of Bynum’s camp than reality. The Clippers need frontcourt depth but can only offer the minimum and are leaning away from going after Bynum anyway, Stein reports. Same with the Hawks and Nets (two other teams that could use another big).

Portland, another team who might want to add a big, also is not interested, reports Chris Haynes at CSNNW.com.

Indiana is has reached out, but their interest only seems to be in trying to keep him out of Miami. The Heat have to think about size and depth going up against Roy Hibbert and the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals (that meeting seems all but inevitable) however they already have Chris Andersen and Greg Oden on the roster. Bynum has been better than Oden (and more durable, such as it is) but the Heat have to wonder if it’s worth the risk.

All of which is to say, there just isn’t that much of a market for Bynum. As he is finding out.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.