- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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A call to the agent for center Andrew Bynum was among the flurry of phone calls the Mavericks made in the opening hours of free agency as they began doing their due diligence on potential backup plans in case Dwight Howard decides to sign with another team.
Agent David Lee said the Mavs and “several other teams” expressed interest in the wee hours of Monday morning. Lee declined to elaborate or specify which other teams contacted him about the 2012 All-Star who missed all of last season with the 76ers because of bad knees.
Lee recently told The Associated Press that the 7-foot, 285-pound Bynum, who averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 2011-12, expects to be healthy for the beginning of training camp. The Mavs would obviously want their own medical staff to evaluate Bynum before signing him to a contract, which would likely include language to manage the team’s financial risks if his knee problems continue.
The Mavs’ medical staff, headlined by head athletic trainer Casey Smith and Dr. T.O. Souryal, could be a factor in Bynum choosing to come to Dallas if the Mavs make a competitive offer. They helped get Tyson Chandler’s career back on track after he arrived in Dallas as a dumped salary, having missed a total of 68 games in the previous two seasons due to foot and ankle injuries.
Bynum’s missed games total in the last six seasons: 82, six, 28, 17, 32 and 47.
Utah’s Al Jefferson, San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter and Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic are the other most accomplished centers on the market. Splitter and Pekovic are restricted free agents whose teams have the rights to match any offer and are interested in keeping them.