After long courtship, Cavaliers introduce oft-injured Bynum
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Just minutes after signing with Cleveland, Andrew Bynum proclaimed the Cavaliers to be a playoff team.
Whether his ailing knees allow him to be the starting center remains to be seen.
“Getting my career on track is my only goal for the season,” Bynum said Friday at his introductory press conference Friday. “The Cavs have given me every opportunity to succeed, and we’ve put together a plan. I really believe in the doctors here and the training staff.
“I want to play a full season, and there is no doubt in my mind I can do that. I’m going to be ready for training camp, that’s the plan.”
Bynum signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Cavaliers, officially ending his star-crossed stay with the Philadelphia 76ers. The 7-footer missed all of last season with knee problems after being acquired from the Lakers in a four-team trade.
Though Bynum underwent bilateral arthroscopic surgery on both knees in March and has not been medically cleared to run, Cleveland general manager Chris Grant made him the team’s top priority in free agency. The 25-year-old also was courted by the Mavericks and Hawks.
“We’re all aware of what his injuries have been,” Grant said. “He’s also well aware of that and has taken ownership of the process. Andrew is in a different place right now and he’s excited to move forward. We’re going to do everything we possibly can.”
The Cavaliers only guaranteed Bynum $6 million in the first year of the deal, but he could earn an additional $6 million through performance incentives. Cleveland holds a $12 million team option for the second season.
Bynum, who hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since May 21, 2012, made $16.9 million last year with Philadelphia. He averaged 18.7 points and 11.7 rebounds for the Lakers two seasons ago — earning his lone All-Star selection — while playing under Cavaliers coach Mike Brown.
“I was an All-Star in this league, but I feel like I still have a lot of room to grow,” said Bynum, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2005 draft. “I had a year off, a year to watch basketball and learn the game from the outside in. I saw what I need to do.
“With the time off, I’ve been able to get the swelling in my knees out, so I’m anxious and ready to start. I’ve already moved to Cleveland, and come Monday, I’ll be working here every day.”
Pistons sign Caldwell-Pope, Mitchell
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Detroit Pistons signed draft picks Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tony Mitchell.
The team did not release terms of the deals. The Pistons used the eighth pick in the draft on Caldwell-Pope, a 6-foot-5 guard from Georgia who was the Southeastern Conference player of the year last season. Caldwell-Pope averaged 18.5 points per game as a sophomore in 2012-13 and shot 37 percent from 3-point range.
Caldwell-Pope was the first Georgia player since Dominique Wilkins in 1981 to sweep the major SEC player of the year awards.
The 6-foot-8 Mitchell, drafted in the second round, averaged 13 points and 8.5 rebounds last season as a sophomore for North Texas. He is also the school’s career and single-season record holder for blocked shots.
Lakers hire Mark Madsen as coach
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — It didn’t take long for the Los Angeles Lakers to promote Mark Madsen.
The former Stanford player who was part of the Lakers’ NBA champion teams in 2001 and ’02 was hired as the team’s player development coach, along with Larry Lewis.
In May, Madsen was hired to coach the Los Angeles D-Fenders this season. Instead, he will help Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, who says Madsen “has endless energy and is a workaholic.”
Madsen played nine seasons in the NBA and spent the last two years as a Stanford assistant
Lewis spent last season as an assistant with the D-Fenders and before that was head of player development for the team.
Mavs sign Dalembert, close to locking up starters
DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks signed free-agent center Samuel Dalembert, putting them a step closer to securing another overhaul of their starting lineup.
The deal announced Friday means four of the projected starters in Dallas are under contract. The other, shooting guard Monta Ellis, has a verbal agreement.
The contract is reportedly worth $7.5 million over two seasons.
Dalembert is likely to be the fifth starting center in the past five seasons for the Mavericks, who are retooling their roster for the third straight offseason. Their first priority in free agency was center Dwight Howard, but he chose Houston.
The 32-year-old Dalembert is the NBA’s only Haitian-born player and has career averages of 8.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. He played for Milwaukee last season.