Cavs optimistic with Bynum experiment

Cleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Everyone from the Cleveland media to Cavaliers players to coach Mike Brown spoke highly of Andrew Bynum’s rehabilitation.

“He’s progressing fine,” Brown said of the 7-foot center, who signed a free-agent contract with Cavs this summer. “He’s been working hard.”

But isn’t that what the 76ers said last preseason after acquiring Bynum in a four-team trade that ultimately set them back several seasons?  Bynum, who made $16.9 million last season, never played for the team due to chronically injured knees.

“I mean, he just came [to Philly] with a tough situation,” said Cavs guard Dion Waiters, a South Philadelphia native.

Cleveland is hopeful that Bynum’s situation will be different this season.  One thing was certain while he participated in pregame warm-ups for Monday’s 104-93 preseason victory over the Sixers at Schottenstein Center:  Bynum, who sat out the game,  is in better shape than he was in Philadelphia.

“When he agreed to come here back in July, he had a lease in Atlanta on a house he was going to move into,” Brown said. “He broke the lease and moved to Cleveland, and literally he’s been to the facility 9:30, 10 o’clock [in the morning] and leaving about 2:30. That’s every day.”

The Cavs don’t have a timetable for when he’ll play in games.

“We’ll just let him continue to progress,” Brown said. “When the doctor feels he’s ready and the trainer feels he’s ready, he feels he’s ready and I feel he’s ready, then he’ll play. But there’s no rush.”

For now, Cleveland is just elated to have someone of his stature leading by example. The former all-star won two championship rings with the Lakers.

“When our guys walk in there and they see the stuff that he’s doing with our doctors and training staff, it kind of takes them aback a little bit,” Brown said, “because they don’t realize how hard it is to work to be considered one of the best in this business.”

Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers.