I Don't Recall Saying "Good Luck": Andrew Bynum Signs With Cavaliers

I Don't Recall Saying "Good Luck": Andrew Bynum Signs With Cavaliers

Well, that's that then. Apparently the Sixers' pitch to Andrew Bynum wasn't quite good enough, and now he's gone and signed a two-year, $24 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bynum will join the Cavaliers' up-and-coming collection of top-five talent--#1 overall picks Kyrie Irving and Anthony Bennett, and #4s Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters--as a likely up-and-coming team in the Eastern Conference, and down the road, perhaps even a re-landing spot for LeBron James should he decide to forgo quintiple-peating or whatever with the Miami Heat.

Thus ends Andrew Bynum's time as a Philadelphia 76er, with a grand total of zero minutes played in the Red, White and Blue, and a tab of Andre Iguodala, two prospects and a future first-round pick that he will never collect on for the Sixers. We can't say we didn't have memories with Drew during his short time in Philly, but I think we all hoped those memories would be more about playoff wins and All-Star appearances than ridiculous haircuts and bowling tragedies. Nevertheless, he is gone, unlikely to ever return, and the Sixers franchise and fanbase has little choice but to suck it up and get over it.

Of course, this hardly comes as a surprise to Sixers fans, who had long since written off Bynum as a sunk cost, and in many cases, didn't even want the injury-ridden big man back in the fold. The acquisition of Sam Hinkie as GM and subsequent draft-night trade for Jrue Holiday were fairly large indicators that returning Bynum would not be an off-season priority for the team, and we here at the Level basically assumed they would only go after Drew if they felt they could get him for decently below market value. Two years for $24 mil is a pretty decent get for Bynum, however, and it was unlikely that Hinkie would match or best such an offer for the rebuilding Sixers. Adios, Andrew.

Some stiuplations do come with those figures for Bynum, however, as only $6 mil of the $24 total is guaranteed. That six is guaranteed for the first year, with the rest coming on player incentives, and the second year is a team option, which essentially means that Bynum is a one-year, make-good experiment for the Cavs, and they can wipe the slate clean in time to go after the big 2014 free agents if so desired. I'm a little surprised that a team like Dallas, whose backup plan to Bynum at this point is going after our other old friend Samuel Dalembert, didn't just throw a couple mil more his way for the season and just say what the hell, but whatever--everyone says this is the best deal Drew was getting, so may as well take it to play with Kyrie and company on a team with a virtually ceiling-less future.

Personally, I'll still probably root for him. I can't say Andrew Bynum's time as a Philadelphia 76er endeared him to me all that greatly, but I still don't really blame him for his missing the whole season, and I still think he's one of the league's more compelling talents (and more interesting personalities) when healthy enough for his eccentricities to not seem overbearing. If he wants to build something with the kids out in the Cleve, I say go for it. I'll be at least a little bit bitter if he's 100% healthy for the rest of his career and leads the Cavs to the upper echelon of the East as he was supposed to with the Sixers, but I'll be cursing the basketball gods more than Bynum specifically. At the end of the day, he really doesn't owe us anything.

Mostly, I'm just bummed that it never happened, that it's never gonna happen with the Sixers and Bynum. So much excitement, so much worry, so much emotional bargaining, all in the name of a payoff that never came. It's not gonna be easy to get over, but at least with the Sixers' new management, there's a plan in place for a post-Bynum future, and it's not inconceivable that in a couple years, we'll be much better set for the future than we ever would have been with Andrew Bynum and Jrue Holiday leading the way for the Liberty Ballers. Until then...well, let's all get used to a lot of losing, and a lot of watching college basketball and fantasizing about who the next guy to really get the Sixers to contention could be.

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

DETROIT -- Brandon Dubinsky scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game, 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Lukas Sedlak got his first NHL goal for the Blue Jackets, who have earned at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games. Cam Atkinson contributed a short-handed goal in the first period for Columbus.

Dylan Larkin's power-play goal in the second was the only scoring of the night for the Red Wings. Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Sam Gagner scored into an empty net with 13.9 seconds remaining (see full story). 

Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored in the sixth round of a shootout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker scored in regulation for Minnesota, which has won three straight.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves. He entered with a league-best .946 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average.

Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers, whose four-game losing streak began with a 2-1 home overtime loss to the Wild last Sunday.

Staal scored on a backhand deke before Nugent-Hopkins fired wide in the sixth round (see full story). 

Raanta, Rangers beat Blackhawks, 1-0, in overtime
CHICAGO -- Nick Holden scored 55 seconds into overtime, Antti Raanta made 26 saves against his former team and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Friday night.

Derek Stepan passed from the boards to a streaking Holden in the middle of the ice, and he beat Scott Darling on the stick side for his fourth goal of the season.

Darling was going for his second straight shutout while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford but had to settle for another solid performance.

Raanta, who made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2013 and played for the Blackhawks for two seasons before he was traded to New York, improved to 15-0-3 in 20 career appearances at the United Center.

The 27-year-old Raanta had 17 saves in Thursday's 2-1 victory at Winnipeg, and coach Alain Vigneault opted to give him a second straight start over Henrik Lundqvist because of his recent play and his success in Chicago (see full story).

Oshie, Johansson, Grubauer lift Caps over Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson each scored a goal, Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Jakub Vrana and John Carlson also scored, helping Washington beat Buffalo for the third time in 15 days.

Kyle Okposo scored and Robin Lehner made 25 saves for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost three of their last four.

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 6:43 into the second period when he lifted a shot from the right edge of the crease past Lehner. Jay Beagle drew two defenders into the corner and sent the puck back to a wide open Oshie for his ninth goal of the season (see full story).