Andrew Bynum clears waivers, is officially a free agent

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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.