The Cavaliers took a chance on Andrew Bynum, but it was a small one considering that the team signed him to a contract that is only guaranteed for $6 million, and doesn’t become fully guaranteed until after January 10.
There would seem to be an incentive for Bynum to get back on the court for the first part of the season to prove his value and get the rest of the money that could potentially be his under the most recent deal. But at the same time, if he comes back and underperforms because he isn’t yet ready to return, that could hurt his long-term chances.
It’s a tricky situation that will be monitored closely, and we’re going to hear plenty of reports as to Bynum’s readiness leading up to the season. Consider this the first, which is semi-contradictory to what Bynum himself said about his non-existent timetable to return just a couple of weeks ago.
From Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio:
Training camp begins Oct. 1, with the Cavs’ first preseason game a week later (vs. the Milwaukee Bucks).
One source familiar with Bynum’s progress told FOX Sports Ohio that Bynum is nowhere near ready and is likely to miss the entire preseason. He could, however, give it a go early in the regular season, if not for the opener Oct. 30 vs. the Brooklyn Nets.
So what we’re essentially saying is, Bynum isn’t yet ready, but don’t rule him out for the start of the season.
This is unfortunately the nature of injury updates in today’s NBA — we talked about how Rajon Rondo will be going through a similar news cycle as he prepares to return to the court for the Celtics.
The reality is, none of us know when these star-level players are going to be ready to make their respective debuts after undergoing rehabilitation following a serious injury. It’s unwise for teams to inflate expectations, so it’s likely that we won’t know anything until the days leading up to the player actually being cleared to be in the lineup — and we may not know for sure until the day the return has been finalized.
Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.
He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.
Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.
But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.
The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.
It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.
Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.
After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.
Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.
Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.
James Harden became the first player in NBA history to score 30 points against all 29 opponents in a season.
But the NBA has had 30 teams for just 15 of its 73 seasons.
Obviously, the larger league makes Harden’s feat more impressive. He had to score 30 against more teams. The Rockets also play most opponents, those in the Eastern Conference, only twice. In previous eras, players had more cracks at scoring 30 against fewer teams.
Still, anyone to score 30 points against every opponent has a certain immunity to bad matchups. It’s special.
How many players have done it?
We must start with Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 30 points against all nine teams in the 1964-65 NBA. He began the season with the San Francisco Warriors and, with them, scored 30 against the 76ers. Then, he got traded to Philadelphia and scored 30 on the Warriors. He also dropped 30 on every other team.
Including that season, there have been 85 times a player scored 30 points in a game against every opponent in a season.
Only Harden, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird have done it since the NBA-ABA merger. Jordan (1986-87) and Bird (1984-85) did it against 22 teams.
Everyone else did it against 17 or fewer teams.
Here’s everyone to score 30 in a game against every opponent in a season with the player’s highest-scoring game against each team listed, starting with Chamberlain doing it against every team then following in chronological order:
The Bucks’ mission: Win enough to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo long-term.
This summer will present an inflection point. Three Milwaukee starters – Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Malcolm Brogdon – will be free agents, and the luxury tax looms. (The Bucks recently signed Eric Bledsoe to an extension, providing some cost-certainty.)
Will Milwaukee pay the luxury tax to keep this team intact? If so, how much tax and for how long? It’s a long way off, but the Bucks ought to start considering the possibility of the repeater tax down the road.
That’s why it was so risky for Milwaukee to waive Christian Wood and sign Tim Frazier. That put the Bucks in jeopardy of paying the luxury tax this season if they won the championship (triggering bonuses in Tony Snell‘s contract) and Wood went unclaimed. Obviously, Milwaukee would probably gladly pay the tax, miss out on payments to non-tax teams and start the repeater clock to win a title this year. But it’s still better to win without those downsides.
Thankfully for the Bucks, they’re off the hook.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
This is a nice pickup by the Pelicans. The 23-year-old Wood has looked good in limited NBA minutes and in the NBA’s minor league. His 2019-20 minimum salary is unguaranteed until that regular season begins. So, this is a low-risk addition with solid upside.
Maybe Milwaukee could use Wood in the frontcourt right now. Nikola Mirotic just suffered an injury that will sideline him a few weeks, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is out for tonight’s game against the Cavaliers with an ankle injury.
It’s unclear how quickly Wood will report to New Orleans, but he could step into the lineup if Anthony Davis misses more time.