INDEPENDENCE, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The hopes and dreams of a playoff push for the wine and gold of the Cavaliers will rest on the shoulders of a player who never even took the floor last season.
Andrew Bynum, who was finally introduced to the media on Friday at Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, will have a huge role in just how far this Cavaliers team goes in the upcoming season.
Good or bad.
Last season Bynum never played for the 76’ers after being traded to Philadelphia last summer due to knee injuries.
The Cavs have done their part in making sure that the knee that didn’t allow him to play last year is healthy enough for him to make the two-year, $24 million deal worth it.
Bynum wasn’t afraid to speak about the skeptics that think that he’s lazy and doesn’t work hard enough based on the talent he has.
“I worked really hard to get where I am,” Bynum said Friday. “I have had injures in the past, and there’s a lot to be said for people who think that way, that’s kind of nonsense.”
The deal for the Cavs is a good one, as the deal only guarantees Bynum $6 million and includes a team option in the second year.
Bynum can earn $12 million in the first year if he reaches performance incentives.
One teammate that is excited about the signing is guard Dion Waiters, who told NBA.com that he thinks the addition will make a big impact.
“[Bynum]’s a huge addition,” Waiters said. “You can’t teach size, and especially with Andrew he’s won championships. We’re just waiting for him to get healthy.”
The Cavs offseason has already had a number of talented names come aboard, from first overall pick Anthony Bennett to free agents Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark.
No question that the front office was not going to stand around and watch as teams around the Cavs improved, while they sat still and waited for another lottery in 2014.
Bynum could be the piece that puts the team over the top, but he will have overcome the health question a number of times before he can even think about playing basketball past 82 regular season games.
“We have a great young nucleus here,” Bynum said.
“I have no more frustration, I’ve had a year off and had a year to learn, I see what I need to do and I am anxious to start, and Monday I am going to start working.”
The former All-Star said that he plans on playing a ‘full season’ and that would be huge for the Cavs if he can even come close to that.
There are pieces and parts around Bynum that can help him compete, such as Kyrie Irving, Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller.
The center seems to feel this team is ready to contend and contend now, and if his knee holds up, he could be just what the doctor ordered for the Cavs roster.
“We have the talent, all it’s going to take is the work,” Bynum said
“Going forward I want to get back to the All-Star level and work hard and get this team back to the playoffs and make some noise.”
Cavs fans are hoping that noise will be music to their ears.