NBA AM: Same Story With Andrew Bynum
Same Story With Bynum: While clearly healthy enough to get up some Pop-A-Shot at Dave and Busters, Sixers big man Andrew Bynum continues to sing the same song about his status for the 76ers.
“If these were the finals and it could be about me helping this team, then I’m going to play, because that is serious time,” Bynum said to John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “You want to be a part of that. But I don’t think right now would be a good time to risk anything. Why risk it when you have time to come back and be 100 percent?”
There has been growing doubt that Bynum may never suit up for the 76ers this season, something he admitted was possible, just not what he’s expecting.
“It is obviously a possibility, but it really depends on what my doctor tells me,” Bynum said. “If my left knee gets better and starts to feel like my right knee, I’ll be playing.
“Worst-case scenario, it’s another month. Best-case scenario, I can ramp it up.”
Bynum said he understands the pressure to get back on the floor, but cautioned that being patient isn’t easy, even for him.
“Athletes are super-impatient,” he said. “To be impatient in this situation would be to my detriment, so I wouldn’t do that.
“As far as the threshold of pain, it’s more about protecting and being cautious about my knees. I feel this pain walking around, so I think it would silly to do anything basketball-related because right now that’s sure going to make it get worse. So until it heals up, being cautious and taking time to heal is the thing.”
Bynum is in the final year of his contract and is slated to earn $16.8 million.
League sources openly question what Bynum’s free agent value is and how much of this prolonged rehab is about being healthy going into free agency, to the point where he’d pass a demanding physical.
The 76ers have held their own without Bynum, sitting at 12-9 on the season and having won five of their last ten games.
76er sources say if the team can remain above the waterline and in the playoff discussion until Bynum returns in what’s expected to be January, then they are OK with the prolonged rehab.
Bynum has officially missed 21 games, if he can get and stay healthy for the final 45-to-50 games that might be enough to jump into the homecourt discussion in the East.
The burning questions surrounding the 76ers is if anyone really willing to bet the 76ers’ season on Bynum’s knees? And, at what point do the Sixers explore what Bynum’s ending contract is worth on the trade market now that their medical staff has had an up-close look at his knees?
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Rudy Comfortable, But Wants More: In 2010 the Memphis Grizzlies shocked the NBA world by offering Rudy Gay a five-year $82 million extension. At the time it was a radical overpaying of a promising young player who was likely heading to another team. Two years later Gay has become one of the better small forwards in the NBA, and is a key reason Memphis sits atop of the west with teams like Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
Rudy has struggles in recent years with injuries, but he has also struggled with finding his place and comfort level in Memphis, especially on a roster with so many alpha male type personalities.
Rudy talked with HOOPSWORLD about his season so far, which many are calling an All-Star worthy campaign; however, Rudy says his best basketball is still to come.
Rudy is averaging 19 points per game and shooting a career-best 37.1 percent from three point range. The Grizzles are 14-4 on the season and outscoring teams by an average of seven points per game. If the playoffs started today the Grizzlies would be the third seed in the West and are just two games behind red hot Oklahoma City and four games behind first place San Antonio.
The Dreaded Vote Of Confidence: Whenever NBA owners throws support behind their coach, you can usually bet that coach is in more hot water than the owner wants to admit.
Raptors president Brian Colangelo says his coach Dwyane Casey is not in jeopardy and that replacing the coach has not been discussed. However, the Raptors are sitting at 4-18 on the season and have lost five straight and nine out of their last ten and lost Kyle Lowry and Andrea Bargnani to injury last night. Their status going forward is unclear.
In Phoenix Suns’ owner Robert Sarver tried to defuse the notion that his club was planning to fire Alvin Gentry after their 7-15 start.
“We’ve got confidence in our coaching staff and we’re not considering making changes,” Sarver said to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com
“It’s still early in the season. We’re playing worse than our talent, and a lot of that has to do with confidence. It’s up to the coaches and players to start playing better and to get that swagger back and turn things around. Things can turn quickly in this league.”
Suns source have maintained since the start of the season that the system changes installed this year have created a lot of problems for the Suns roster, especially those players that were used to or expecting an up and down style of play.
The Suns have lost seven-straight games and have lost eight of their last ten games.
The vote of confidence for a NBA coach is generally the first sign of a coaching tenure coming to an end, and in both situations something needs to chang; changing the coach is often the easiest change a team can make.
Hansbrough In, Augustin Out: Let’s be honest. DJ Augustin has been terrible for Indiana. Viewed this summer as an upgrade at the guard position, Augustin has struggled for the Pacers so much so that head coach Frank Vogel has decided to bench DJ in favor of camp invite Ben Hansbrough.
“I think D.J. has been in a slump this year,” Vogel said to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star. “Our bench as an unit has been struggling. D.J. is not in any way solely responsible, but I don’t want to change the whole bench and throw everybody upside down. We’ll change one part and see if it has any impact.”
Augustin for his part took the news in stride saying it was on him to work harder.
“I’m not going to blame it on the minutes, I’m not going to blame it on anybody,” Augustin said. “I just have to deal with it and try to get better.”
The move to replace Augustin is one of many the Pacers are looking at making. Rookies Miles Plumlee and Orlando Johnson are both expected to get some expanded opportunities as the Pacers try and shake the 10-11 funk the team finds itself after losing two-straight games.
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