Andrew Bynum meets with Pacers
The Indiana Pacers met with free agent center Andrew Bynum and his agent, David Lee, in Indianapolis on Friday. No contract agreement was in place, but the talks are "serious," a source told ESPN.
Bynum has been in talks with five teams, including the Miami Heat, sources said. The Heat, however, do not have a roster spot available and have been willing to offer Bynum a contract only at the veteran's minimum.
Bynum has been seeking something more than the minimum salary, sources said.
The Indianapolis Star reported earlier Friday that Bynum had met with the Pacers. Bynum told the Cleveland Plain Dealer earlier in the day that he hadn't yet decided to sign with a team.
The Pacers, who have a roster spot open, have $2.1 million left of their midlevel exception, and they could use some or all of it on Bynum. But the Pacers are roughly $1.8 million below the luxury-tax threshold, and team president Larry Bird has said repeatedly they do not plan to pay the luxury tax.
The Heat have their entire $5 million midlevel exception to use but are scheduled to pay more than $15 million in luxury taxes and would have to pay a penalty of $2.50 per dollar they gave Bynum if they were not able to trade a player to offload some salary and open roster space.
Bynum, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 24 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. The Cavs traded him to the Chicago Bulls with two future draft picks for Luol Deng on Jan. 7. The Bulls, in a salary-saving move, released Bynum the next day before the second half of his $12 million contract became guaranteed.
The Pacers, who have the East's best record at 35-10, could use Bynum as a backup to All-Star center Roy Hibbert.
The Heat, who trail the Pacers by three games in the East, have been getting encouraging play recently from backup center Greg Oden, who returned after missing more than four years due to knee problems.
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