Opening Tip: Bynum a fit for Mavs?

DALLAS -- The Mavericks opted not to make a bid this summer after checking Andrew Bynum out from head to knees.

Wise decision, as it turned out.

But the Mavs are among the eight teams who expressed exploratory interest in Bynum after he cleared waivers, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports. Why would the Mavs have any interest in Bynum now after passing on him this summer?

Start with the price tag. If the Mavs could have signed Bynum for the minimum this offseason, they would have surely taken that flyer. But Bynum wanted significant guaranteed money -- and got $6 million from the Cleveland Cavaliers, a market the Mavs weren’t willing to enter.

At this point, there would be no negotiating. The Mavs have no cap space and have used all their exceptions, so all they can offer is the minimum. If Bynum gets a better offer, good for him.

“That’s not a banking issue,” Mark Cuban said. “It’s not to say we wouldn’t consider him. But we’ll look at everybody and make a determination. Any free agent, we can only offer them the minimum. Any free agent.”

Cuban claimed he hadn’t studied film of Bynum from his brief Cleveland tenure. It’s not exactly impressive viewing, as Bynum averaged 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting only 41.9 percent in 20 minutes per game.

But this isn’t a matter of whether the 7-foot, 300-ish-pound Bynum can get back in All-Star form. The question is whether he would be an upgrade to the Mavs’ roster.

In other words, would you rather take a flyer on 26-year-old Bynum with his bad knees and baggage or keep 28-year-old fourth-string center Bernard James as the 15th man on the roster?

There’s at least the possibility that Bynum could fill the Mavs’ void at starting center at some point. And, if you’re discussing Dallas’ needs, that’s a pretty good place to start given Samuel Dalembert’s unsurprising inconsistency.

“Depends on which Sam we have,” Cuban said. “If we have the Sam of [Friday] night, we’re good. If we have the Sam that isn’t as on key as he was [Friday] night, it’s different. Again, we’re always being opportunistic. Wherever we can improve our team, we will.”

Of course, a strong argument can be made that the risk of bringing Bynum to Dallas outweighs the reward. He’s been a high-drama, no-impact player at his last two stops and was often a pain during his productive days with the Los Angeles Lakers.

But this would be a relationship of convenience, not a marriage. If it doesn’t work out, oh well. At least it wouldn’t be as messy as the Mavs’ recent breakups with ex-Lakers.