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

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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.”

Chris Paul on 2020 Olympics: My wife wants to go to Tokyo

Chris Paul
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Chris Paul feels great starring for the Thunder.

So great, he might even take on extra workload.

Paul – who helped Team USA win gold medals in 2008 and 2012 but didn’t compete in 2016 – said he’s “very serious” about playing the 2020 Olympics. Paul:

I’m excited about the opportunity. My wife is sort of calling the shots on this one. She said she wants to go to Tokyo.

I’ve been blessed and fortunate to play in 2008. I had no kids then. In 2012, my wife couldn’t come, because, four days after the gold medal game, she had my daughter.

We often hear about players missing international tournaments due to personal reasons. But that can go both ways. Paul might compete due to personal reasons.

Paul faces steep and deep competition for making the team at point guard: Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker, Mike Conley, Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White. Trae Young didn’t even make the list of finalists.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said players who’ve previously represented the U.S. will get favorable consideration. So, that’ll help Paul.

If he plays, Paul – who turns 35 in May – would be Team USA’s third-oldest Olympian:

Chris Paul

Age for Team USA’s first game or, in 2020, first game of the tournament

Did John Beilein’s methods lead to Dylan Windler’s season-ending injury?

Former Cavaliers coach John Beilein and Dylan Windler
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John Beilein gave the Cavaliers problems mentally.

Did he also give them problems physically – especially Dylan Windler, who’s missing his entire rookie year?

Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

Warning signs for Beilein could be traced to the Cavs’ Summer League schedule, when the rookie coach ran a collection of (mostly) G Leaguers and non-roster invites through extended practices, multiple times a day. This is precisely what Beilein would have done at Michigan, especially with an entirely new batch of players, this early in a season calendar. But players not only complained about the work, they also were drilled in games by opponents who were clearly well-rested. And this was in Summer League.

There was at least one player, though, involved in those early summer workouts under Beilein who was expecting to make a major contribution to the Cavs this season. Rookie Dylan Windler, a late first rounder, was supposed to compete with Cedi Osman for minutes on the wing. But he never played a game this season because of a stress injury in his left leg — which could be traced back at least in part to being overworked during the summer.

Would Windler have missed the season under a different coach? It’s impossible to say. Counterfactuals are complex.

But there was legitimate reason to be concerned with Beilein’s approach. Teams have learned the importance of rest. Fatigued players are more susceptible to injury.

Beilein’s longest college season was 41 games. He coached 54 games in Cleveland – and left with much of the season remaining.

Handling the grind of the NBA season was always going to be an adjustment for the long-time college coach. It probably got understated amid concern about him relating interpersonally to his players.

The Cavaliers needed practice time. They needed work to develop. That’s clearly what Beilein prioritized.

But they also needed to limit the physical toll, and it’s reasonable to question whether Beilein did enough there. Even if he was learning that the NBA is more marathon than sprint, the several months Beilein coaches the Cavs were enough to cause issues.

Bucks’ minor-league coach suspended two games for rant (video)

Bucks minor-league coach Chase Buford
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Chase Buford, who coaches the Bucks’ minor-league affiliate, went on an epic rant after the Wisconsin Herd’s latest loss. He singled out referee Matt Rafferty as a “f—ing clown” and said the officials were “bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating.”

Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:

G League release:

Wisconsin Herd head coach Chase Buford has been suspended for two games without pay for a direct and extended public attack on the integrity and credibility of the game officials.

I can’t recall an NBA coach ever getting suspended for something he said during a press conference.

I also can’t recall an NBA coach ever saying something so inflammatory during a press conference.

In 2005, then-NBA commissioner David Stern threatened to ban Jeff Van Gundy from the NBA after the then-Rockets coach criticized officiating. That incident still led to just a $100,000 fine. Twice as large as any previous fine for a coach. But still just a fine, nonetheless.

Watch entire Kobe Bryant memorial service (video)

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The public memorial for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant featured several unforgettable moments, including:

But I can’t overstate how well done the entire event was, how heartfelt the speakers and performers were. If you missed it yesterday and are in the right headspace, it’s worth watching to get a more complete understanding of Kobe and Gianna.