CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Cavaliers are taking a chance on Andrew Bynum and his creaky knees.
The free-agent center, who never played one second with Philadelphia last season because of knee injuries, agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Cavs, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
Bynum accepted the deal on Wednesday night, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the agreement.
The 7-footer was traded to the 76ers last summer as part of a four-team blockbuster. Bynum, a former All-Star with the Lakers, was expected to help Philadelphia contend but the 25-year-old never stepped on the court and underwent surgery on both knees in March.
The Cavs, who beat out Atlanta and Dallas for Bynum, are only guaranteeing $6 million and one year to Bynum, the person said. The team has an option on the second year.
In Cleveland, Bynum will be reunited with Cavs Coach Mike Brown. The two spent one season together in Los Angeles, and Bynum had his best season as a pro, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds in 60 games.
Bynum, if healthy, should move the Cavs from one of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams to a playoff contender.
JUST ABOUT every NBA team would like Dwight Howard.
Only the Houston Rockets could get him, and some of his other suitors either announced their backup plans or were still working on them.
Paul Millsap is headed to Atlanta and the Golden State Warriors acquired Andre Iguodala.
The Los Angeles Clippers never had to look beyond their top target, with Chris Paul committing to stay on the first day of free agency. They also added Darren Collison, Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick to a team that won the Pacific Division last season, surpassing the Lakers as the best team in Los Angeles.
It’s hard to see that changing after Howard passed on re-signing with the Lakers and instead opted for the Rockets in a deal that still hadn’t become official as of Wednesday night.
That was the first day transactions could be completed and contacts signed following the completion of the NBA’s moratorium period. The Rockets couldn’t wait to talk about their All-Star center, getting fined $150,000 by the league on Tuesday for premature comments about Howard on TV and in social media.
The rest of the league waited until rules allowed Wednesday.
The Clippers held a press conference for Paul, the three new players, and the re-signed Matt Barnes and Ryan Hollins on what Paul called “one of the biggest days in franchise history.”
Charlotte got bigger by adding former Utah center Al Jefferson, while his former Jazz teammate Millsap is also bound for the Southeast Division with the Hawks.
Atlanta missed out on Howard, and forward Josh Smith left for a $54 million, four-year deal with Detroit, but the Hawks bounced back by giving Millsap a two-year, $19 million contract.
The Jazz also got involved in the deal that landed Iguodala with the Warriors, who gave him a four-year, $48 million deal last week. Golden State cleared more than $24 million by sending Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush to the Jazz along with four draft picks and cash. Denver received guard Randy Foye from the Jazz.
Chris Andersen signed a $1.7 million, one-year deal to stay with the Miami Heat.
Indiana re-signed power forward David West and added C.J. Watson as a backup point guard, while the Chicago Bulls improved their outside shooting by signing Mike Dunleavy.
The NBA’s other big deal of the offseason, the trade sending Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston to Brooklyn, will be completed Friday.
WARRIORS: Golden State picked up the option on Coach Mark Jackson’s contract for the 2014-15 season.
KINGS: NBA executive Chris Granger is leaving the league offices to become the president of the Sacramento Kings.
WIZARDS: Washington added free agent Eric Maynor and re-signed Garrett Temple for backcourt depth behind John Wall and Bradley Beal.
TRAIL BLAZERS: Portland formally signed free-agent small forward Dorell Wright, and acquired center Robin Lopez and forward Thomas Robinson in trades, sealing three of several deals the team struck last week.
The Blazers got Lopez in a three-team trade with New Orleans and Sacramento that sent guard Tyreke Evans to the Pelicans and guard Greivis Vasquez to the Kings.
Portland traded the rights to Kostas Papnikolaou and Marko Todorovic, as well as two future second-round picks, to the Rockets in exchange for Robinson, the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft.