Originally written July 19, 2013 on Fox Sports Ohio:
If all goes well with Andrew Bynum, the Cleveland Cavaliers wont need to worry about LeBron James. Not that the Cavs would ignore James should he opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer. No team would. Its just that if Bynum can stay healthy, and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving continues his rise, the Cavs will be desperate for no one. Bynum met with reporters at the Cavs practice facility Friday and said all the right things. I feel a lot better than I did last year. I'm ready to work, he said. I'm going to stay in the gym as much as possible to get my game back. Theres more. I want to get back to All-Star level, he said. We want to work extremely hard, get this team back in the playoffs and really make some noise. The Cleveland fans deserve that. Hes right about that last part. Hes right about the first, too. If Bynum is healthy and willing, the Cavs can really go places. As for James, and the endless speculation about a possible return to Cleveland well, those wont be going away anytime soon. But if Bynum, Irving and the others do their part, people around the world might be able to focus on something else for a short while. And the Cavs and their fans might be able to get excited about whats taking place on the floor, as is, right away. Thats because Bynum is a 7-footer with a wide array of skills. He mostly put them on display two seasons ago, when he averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds with the Los Angeles Lakers. It was a career season that came under Mike Brown. Brown is now the head coach of the Cavs, and a man whose primary focus is defense. After that, Brown preaches defense and more defense. Bynum knows Browns voice well and said he respects it. Thats good news, particularly after the nightmare that was Bynums year in Philadelphia this past season. He played zero minutes in zero games, with the only notable numbers being his two knee surgeries (one on each). On the down side, those knee issues werent his first (he also missed the entire Lakers playoff run to the 2008 Finals) and history tells us theyre not likely to be his last. On the bright side, hes been checked out thoroughly and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall. With Bynum, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, free-agent signee Earl Clark and No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Bennett, the Cavs frontcourt is deep, big and versatile. With the likes of Irving, Dion Waiters, Jarrett Jack and C.J. Miles, the backcourt aint too shabby, either. But again, so much of this depends on everyone staying healthy, and of the above list, only about half has a recent history of doing so. King of free agency? As for James, sources close to him told FOX Sports Ohio he is likely to test the waters next season by opting out of his current contract. He enjoys the recruiting process too much not to, sources said, and mostly, its just a smart business decision. Not just for James, but for anyone anywhere. Other big names either can or will be free agents as well. That includes New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and forward Pau Gasol, and Heat guard Dwyane Wade and big man Chris Bosh. But so much of the focus in Cleveland is James -- the local guy who departed the franchise via free agency in 2010. Obviously, a number of different scenarios involving James, the Heat and the Cavs could play out. First, the Heats Big Three of James, Wade and Bosh may have run its course by next summer. Thats especially the case with Wade showing occasional signs of breaking down. If so, James could look for a livelier and younger team with available cap space to help prolong his career. Second, the Cavs could be such a team -- again, with Bynum and Irving in the starring roles of center and point guard, respectively. If that happens, a fantastic swingman-type may be all thats missing. That, of course, only leads to more speculation about James. But the bottom line is the Cavs cant and wont worry about any of that until the time arrives. The same is said of James. He is said to be concentrating on nothing beyond the task ahead of him after winning two straight titles in Miami. If James does opt out after the season, sources said his decision will come down to two places: Miami, or Cleveland. The only way the Cavs can make their case is by doing well on the court, staying healthy, and being the exciting young team they have the potential to be. So there are a lot of unknowns heading into the season, but they are unknowns that cant be disregarded as everyday ridiculousness. But if Bynum, Irving and the rest of the Cavs do their part, again, it wont matter. Theyll become a tempting destination for free agents of all shapes, sizes and names. That includes LeBron James and whoever else you might want to throw in there. Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Royals beat A's in extras, win first playoff game since '85

Mark Davis: Raiders head coaching job will be 'enticing'

Fan on Craigslist offers Nats playoff tickets for threesome

Brady snubs rookie Garoppolo after touchdown pass

Cung Le suspended for failed HGH test

FCC Chairman: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brain study finds 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Tony Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

Eli on Geno Smith: If fans yell at you, you probably deserve it

49ers players come out in support of Jim Harbaugh

Raiders reportedly expected to make a run at Jon Gruden

FCC unanimously ends sports blackout rule

MLB.com posts wrong story saying A's won game

WATCH: Brett Favre in new nose hair trimmer commercial

WATCH: Michigan students protest, call for AD to be fired

Marlins president: We're not trading Giancarlo Stanton

Heckling Knicks fan suing team over ejection

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe: Iggy Azalea has had better career than Swaggy P

College football's post-Week 5 playoff projection

Oregon to don pink-themed unis for breast cancer awareness

Is DeMarco Murray the best RB in the NFL?

WATCH: TBS sends up 'Boom Goes the Dynamite' with promo

Ilya Bryzgalov takes photos with fans while on the bench

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Brady snubs rookie after TD pass

FCC: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

Could Jon Gruden return to Oakland?

Marlins: We're not trading Stanton

Study: 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Heckling fan sues Knicks over ejection

Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe chooses Iggy over Swaggy P

Is DeMarco Murray the NFL's best RB?

Ilya Bryzgalov takes photos with fans while on the bench

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.