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Irish Coffee: Why an Andrew Bynum trade isn’t crazy

Posted By Ben Rohrbach On December 30, 2013 @ 11:02 am In General | 40 Comments

The Cavaliers [1] suspended 26-year-old former All-Star center Andrew Bynum [2] indefinitely over the weekend — a penalization for detrimental conduct that the team lifted after all of 24 hours before placing him on paid leave [3] — so rumors have swirled around Cleveland dealing the oft-injured, much-maligned, weird-hairdoed 7-footer.

Naturally, Celtics [4] president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is doing his due diligence to determine Cavs owner Dan Gilbert [5]‘s asking price. In a series of tweets on Saturday [6], Bill Simmons lumped the Celtics [4] in with the title-contending Clippers and Heat among Bynum’s suitors, but there’s a catch to all this.

Regardless of whether or not Bynum eventually lands in Los Angeles or Miami — the latter of which Gilbert would probably like to prevent — the Celtics [7] may still be interested in acquiring him, if only for his quirky contract.

This past summer, after missing the entire 2012-13 NBA season due to knee injuries, Bynum signed a two-year, $24.8 million deal in Cleveland, but the structure of the contract is a unique one. Only $6 million is guaranteed should the Cavaliers [1] or any potential trade partner cut him prior to Jan. 7. Likewise, next year’s $12.5 million price tag does not become guaranteed until July 10, so there are salary cap-saving options galore.

If the Cavaliers [1] and Bynum will ultimately be parting ways, in a strange way there’s no time like the present for them to sell high on him. Of course, the Celtics wouldn’t be willing to part with Rajon Rondo [8] for a guy who’s played just 24 games since 2011-12 and remains on leave for what appears to be a disdain for playing basketball, so a deal between the two teams would have to be a larger one.

Cavaliers [9] blog Fear the Sword [10] proposed an interesting swap (h/t Red’s Army [11]): Jeff Green [12] and Courtney Lee [13] for Bynum and one of Cleveland’s two first-round picks in 2014. The Cavs possess their own first-rounder and the Kings’ top selection (protected 1-12) in this coming June’s loaded draft. With two potential lottery picks and fresh off the disastrous No. 1 overall choice of Anthony Bennett, Cleveland may be willing to part with a prized pick for Green, who the Cavaliers were rumored to be interested in as a third party during the Omer Asik sweepstakes.

So, why would it make sense for the Celtics to part with their leading scorer? Ainge’s stockpiling of first-round picks is no secret, and by cutting Bynum before Jan. 7 (or even at season’s end), he could shave as much as $36.5 million off the cap through 2016 by shipping Green and Lee’s $15 million combined annual salaries. Such a deal slices the C’s guaranteed commitments to just $35.5 million next season, offering complete flexibility on the free agent market while landing a third first-round pick for the league’s most loaded draft in a decade.

Suddenly, trading Green for Bynum doesn’t seem so strange. And if Cleveland won’t take on the remaining $11.1 million due Lee after this season, Ainge might assuage those concerns by including Keith Bogans instead, still saving the Celtics $25.5 million through 2016. This is the kind of creative thinking that expedites the rebuild.

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URL to article: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2013/12/30/irish-coffee-why-an-andrew-bynum-trade-isnt-crazy/

URLs in this post:

[1] Cavaliers: http://audio.weei.com/basketball/cleveland-cavaliers.htm

[2] Andrew Bynum: http://audio.weei.com/basketball/andrew-bynum.htm

[3] placing him on paid leave: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10209647/andrew-bynum-cleveland-cavaliers-paid-going-forward-team-says

[4] Celtics: http://audio.weei.com/basketball/boston-celtics.htm

[5] Dan Gilbert: http://audio.weei.com/basketball/dan-gilbert-cavs.htm

[6] a series of tweets on Saturday: http://awesomescreenshot.com/03a25esl8e

[7] Celtics: http://media.weei.com/basketball/boston-celtics.htm

[8] Rajon Rondo: http://audio.weei.com/basketball/rajon-rondo.htm

[9] Cavaliers: http://media.weei.com/basketball/cleveland-cavaliers.htm

[10] Fear the Sword: http://www.fearthesword.com/2013/12/28/5250970/cavaliers-trade-speculation-moving-on-from-andrew-bynum

[11] Red’s Army: http://redsarmy.com/2013/12/29/celtics-linked-to-rumors-involving-andrew-bynum/

[12] Jeff Green: http://audio.weei.com/basketball/jeff-green.htm

[13] Courtney Lee: http://audio.weei.com/basketball/courtney-lee.htm

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