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The Cleveland Cavaliers have joined the Dallas Mavericks as a prime team to watch in the race to sign free-agent center Andrew Bynum.
Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that the Cavaliers are legitimate contenders to sign Bynum after his lost season in Philadelphia, especially if the former Los Angeles Lakers All-Star is willing to sign a one-year deal.
Bynum was scheduled to be in Cleveland on Monday so the Cavaliers could have a face-to-face sitdown with the 7-footer, according to sources close to the situation.
Initial indications are that the Cavaliers won't offer more than a one-year deal to Bynum to preserve all of their projected salary-cap space in the summer of 2014 and the expected free-agent pursuit of LeBron James. But Cleveland does still have roughly $15 million in available salary-cap space to use this summer and, sources say, they have legitimate interest in Bynum.
Sources also said Bynum has scheduled in-person meetings in both Atlanta and Dallas this week. The Cavs, Hawks and Mavs are the leading known suitors for Bynum's services.
The Mavericks are actively pursuing Bynum in the wake of Dwight Howard's decision to sign with the Houston Rockets, sources previously told ESPN.com. The Mavs, though, have launched what sources describe as an "exhaustive" evaluation process regarding Bynum's problematic knees, wanting to be sure that the 25-year-old's health can justify a long-term contract after he failed to log a single second of court time for the 76ers in 2012-13.
The Atlanta Hawks, as ESPN.com reported Saturday night, are the only other known suitors for Bynum, but sources say that free-agent guard Monta Ellis is their priority ahead of Bynum.