As he addressed his reasons for signing with the Cavaliers, guard Jarrett Jack was asked about the team's new centre, the former All-Star with the balky knees and uncertain future.
What can Andrew Bynum do for the Cavs?
"Who?" Jack joked.
Cleveland's free-agent class is still missing one member.
Bynum, who has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Cavs, was not present at a news conference Friday as the Cavs introduced their two newest players: Jack and forward Earl Clark. The Cavs and Bynum's agent, David Lee, are still finalizing the complex deal that should eventually land the enigmatic 7-footer in Cleveland sometime next week.
Bynum never played for Philadelphia after being traded to the 76ers last summer because of knee injuries, and the Cavs are making sure they have protection in case he's not ready to play. The sides agreed to a two-year, $24 million deal that 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.
While he works on closing Bynum's deal, general manager Chris Grant said he's excited to add players who bring toughness, leadership and playoff experience to the Cavs' young core.
"We spent a lot of time debating and talking about these two gentlemen here and how well they fit into our organization," Grant said. "We're very happy to add both of these true professionals to our team."
By league rules, Grant was not allowed to discuss Bynum. However, Jack was eager to analyze what the big man could do for a franchise that has gone 64-166 the past three years.
"An anchor in the middle is something every team is desperately in need for and when healthy, he's one of the best, if not the best big men in the game," Jack said. "If we're able to lock it down, and make this thing come to fruition, I think he definitely helps take our team to the next level — and if he's able to stay healthy, obviously."
Jack signed a four-year, $25 million contract after averaging 12.9 points and 5.5 assists in 79 games for Golden State. Once the Warriors renounced his rights as a restricted free agent, Jack looked at his options and decided the Cavaliers, despite winning just 24 games last season, were a good fit.
"When I talked to my agent, we looked over the situation and found out that coach Mike Brown was the one spearheading this thing," Jack said. "That was the only vote of confidence that I needed. Looking at the makeup of the team, it's a very, very young team, but I think with a promising future. That's something I desperately want to be a part of. People tend to forget that when I joined Golden State they'd won 24 games that year.
"Taking on a challenge is something I pride myself on."
One of the biggest is trying to get a Cleveland team to the top. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary since any of the city's professional teams won a championship.
"That's the thing that drives all of us," Jack said.
Soon after he agreed to sign with Cleveland, Jack called Browns cornerback Joe Haden. The two grew up on the same street in Maryland and remain close friends.
"I said, 'Which one of us is going to be the one to take us to the top?"' Jack said. "Knowing the incredible talent that has come through, not being able to get to the mountaintop, it would be an incredible thing."
Clark, too, has some background — albeit brief — with Brown.
Known mostly for his defence, Clark spent last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, who fired Brown after five games. The 6-foot-10 Clark prides himself on his ability to guard smaller players on the perimeter and he's excited about being a stopper for Cleveland.
"That's something that comes easy to me, I like the challenge of guarding the best player out there," he said. "I just want to play under coach Brown a little more in training camp. I know he's a defensive coach and that's what he preaches. I'm excited to be here and excited to go out and play defence."
That comment drew a nod and smile from Grant.
"Good answer," he said.
Hawks 'thrilled' to re-sign Kyle Korver
The Atlanta Hawks have re-signed guard Kyle Korver, allowing the team to keep one of the league's top 3-point shooters.
The four-year, $24 million deal, first reported last week, was signed on Friday.
Korver averaged 10.9 points and made 45.7 per cent of his 3-point shots last season to rank second in the NBA. He has made a 3-pointer in 73 consecutive regular-season games, the league's longest active streak.
General manager Danny Ferry says Korver is an "important presence" for the team and says "we're thrilled to retain him."
Korver and centre Al Horford may be the team's only returning starters. The Hawks must decide by Saturday night if they will match the Bucks' four-year, $32 million offer to point guard Jeff Teague, a restricted free agent.
Timberwolves finalize deals with Budinger, 2 others
The Minnesota Timberwolves have finalized contracts for three small forwards: Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer and rookie Shabazz Muhammad.
The deals were done on Friday. Budinger agreed to terms last week on a three-year, $16 million contract. Brewer agreed to on a three-year, $15 million deal on Wednesday. The Wolves had to manage their salary cap before they could actually sign them.
Budinger was limited to 23 games last season because of a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee. But his familiarity with coach Rick Adelman's system from their prior time together in Houston and his ability to shoot and move without the ball on the wing made him a priority for the Wolves to bring back.
Muhammad was the 14th pick in the draft last month.
Warriors announce deal with Marresse Speights
The Golden State Warriors have confirmed the deal struck earlier this week with free agent Marreese Speights.
The announcement Friday gives Golden State another versatile power forward off the bench whom they hope can fill the void left by Carl Landry, who agreed to a four-year, $26 million US contract with the Sacramento Kings last Saturday.
Speights averaged 10.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in the final 39 games with Cleveland after coming over in a trade from Memphis last season.
Speights' deal is for three years and about $11 million. The third year is a team option.
The 25-year-Speights was drafted 16th overall out of Florida by Philadelphia in 2008. He has averaged 7.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in his first five NBA seasons.
Lakers sign Chris Kaman
The Los Angeles Lakers signed free agent centre Chris Kaman on Friday after Dwight Howard's departure for Houston.
Kaman averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds while starting 52 of 66 games for Dallas last season. He averaged a career-low 20.7 minutes.
His deal with the Lakers is reportedly for one year at $3.2 million.
It will be Kaman's second straight season on a one-year contract. He had an $8 million deal to be the starter in Dallas last season but spent more than half of every game on coach Rick Carlisle's bench.
The 10-year NBA veteran has also played with the Clippers and New Orleans in his career.
Kaman made the 2010 All-Star team. As a dual citizen of the U.S. and Germany, he played for the German team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Bucks officially ship Luc Mbah a Moute to Kings
The deal struck earlier this week that will send forward Luc Mbah a Moute from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Sacramento Kings for two second-round draft picks is complete.
The Kings announced the trade Friday.
The 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward has emerged as a standout defender since he was drafted 37th overall out of UCLA by the Bucks in 2008. He has averaged 6.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game in his career.
Mbah a Moute has two years left on a four-year deal worth about $19 million that he signed as a restricted free agent before the lockout-shorted 2011-12 season. That move came when Milwaukee matched the offer sheet from Denver, where new Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro worked in the front office at the time.
Pelicans land Holiday from 76ers
The New Orleans Pelicans completed their second big move in two days, acquiring Jrue Holiday from Philadelphia and trading the rights to rookie Nerlens Noel.
The deal was agreed to on draft night, when the Pelicans drafted Noel with the No. 6 overall pick. They sent his rights to the 76ers along with a 2014 first-round pick for Holiday, who made his first All-Star team last season.
Pelicans general manager Dell Demps says Friday in a statement that Holiday "is the ideal fit for our team" and "will be an integral addition to the Pelicans family for many years to come."
Holiday will join Tyreke Evans, who was acquired from Sacramento on Thursday, among New Orleans' newcomers. The Pelicans also received the rights to No. 42 pick Pierre Jackson from Philadelphia.
Noel was considered the potential No. 1 pick despite tearing his ACL during his lone season at Kentucky.