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Mar 11 2013

The Bynum Bind: Will the Sixers roll the dice on their hobbled star?

Writing in Hardwood Paroxysm, friend of the blog Jordan White did yeoman’s work on Monday inspecting all that’s gone wrong with the Sixers and weighing the relative pros and cons of the different roads out of the wilderness for the hard-luck franchise. The picture he paints isn’t an optimistic one.

White sets the stage nicely:

In a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Philadelphia 76ers were the rising stars of the Eastern Conference. They had traded away Andre Iguodala and acquired Andrew Bynum, perhaps their first true player around whom they could build a contending team. The possibilities seemed endless: Bynum down low, surrounded by capable shooters, or perhaps forming a dangerous two man game with up-and-coming point guard Jrue Holliday. No longer would Evan Turner, forever tantalizing and forever disappointing, be forced to shoulder the offensive load, instead cutting and weaving through a defense whilst wrecking havoc on whomever dared to guard him. Perhaps they would not contend right away, but a plan was in place, and the future was bright.

Credit: matsuyuki

Credit: matsuyuki

Of course, it didn’t work out quite that way.

White went on to zoom in on the Bynum situation, and the peculiar bind the Sixers find themselves in w/r/t the seven footer. Not only does management have to assign a dollar/year valuation to, health considered, one of the more difficult free agents to peg in NBA history, but they have to contend with a handful of other teams that will surely que up to take a flier on Bynum. Good luck, White says.

They’ll need it. My feeling is this: what’s in the best interest of both the Sixers and Bynum is for the center to remain in Philadelphia. (That is, if he’s going to be healthy enough to continue playing basketball going forward–a big if.) The Sixers need Bynum because he’s the second-best center in the NBA when he’s on the floor, while Bynum needs the Sixers because they can give him the most money. But given the uncertainty surrounding his health, and the noises the team has made, it seems unlikely they’d make more than a very short term commitment. Would Bynum then sign a one or two year deal to stay in Philadelphia and, knees permitting, restore his value? Would he turn down more guaranteed money this summer to get in to ass-kicking/name-taking shape and make even more down the road?

Considered this way, the Sixers ability to come to terms with Bynum might not boil down to the team making a bet on the center, but on the center rolling the dice and making a bet on himself. For both sides, the stakes couldn’t be much higher.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Dervin/1299140134 Michael Dervin

    While I’m in full agreement the Sixers had to make this trade. While I don’t know what to do, I just don’t trust the Front Office to make the right call. Let’s rank the Sixers smart Front Office Decisions over the last few years:
    1) Drafting Holliday
    2) Trading Iggy for Bynum (while the results of the trade are disastrous it was a risk they had to take).
    3) Signing Holliday to the long term deal
    4) Signing Young to the long term deal.

    • Steven Toll

      The trade was bad when it happened and there is nothing to refute that. An All-Star, 2 projected NBA Starters and a draft pick for an overrated, Andrew Bynum and an close to useless Jason Richarson.

      The team shit the bad, but they are fortunate that most people dont have a clue

  • Steven Toll

    It’s hilarious that people continue to say that the Bynum trade had to be done. It was a bad trade to finish up a horrific offseason. How anyone could think otherwise is beyond me

    • Guest

      You mean, how could anyone think that it was beneficial for the franchise to acknowledge that they were mediocre and make a deal that could potentially put them over the top as opposed to continually being a 7 or 8 seed and being ousted in the first round for 5+ years?

      They were good. They were gritty and scrappy. They also were going absolutely no where, so the franchise made the best move available.

      So it didn’t work out, that sucks. But, that doesn’t make it a bad trade. I certainly hope they don’t shy away from taking risks like that again…

      • Steven Toll

        Do you really think that you have a more informed thought on the trade than I do? How much do you know about the CBA? How do you grade players?
        How did you grade the wins adjustment from the players in that trade?
        seriously, believe what you want

    • Wesley Share

      You mean, how could anyone think that it was beneficial for the franchise to acknowledge that they were mediocre and make a deal that could potentially put them over the top as opposed to continually being a 7 or 8 seed and being ousted in the first round for 5+ years?

      They were good. They were gritty and scrappy. They were also going absolutely nowhere, so the franchise made the best deal available at the time.

      So it hasn’t worked out, that sucks, but that doesn’t make it a bad trade. I certainly hope they don’t shy away from taking risks like that in the future.