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NBA PM: Bynum Excited To Be A 76er
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On August 10, 2012 @ 5:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
The excitement level in Los Angeles over the acquisition of center Dwight Howard is nearly matched in Philadelphia regarding the arrival of fellow all-star center Andrew Bynum.
Although the 76ers is coming off of their most-successful season since 2002-03, there wasn’t much optimism that they were going to be able to take the next step forward into title contention as assembled. There was a belief that the current team had reached their potential and that a major change would be needed to make that push into elite territory.
That major change has come in the form of a 24-year-old big man whose best days are almost undoubtedly ahead of him. Along with Bynum, the 76ers also received swingman Jason Richardson in exchange for Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic and draft picks.
For over a year now Bynum, a two-time champion, has been open to the idea of having a team to call his own where he is the number one option. The Lakers helped groom him into one of the league’s best at his position, but with centerpieces Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the recently-acquired Steve Nash, Bynum wasn’t going to be the focal point for at least a few years.
In Philly things will run through him. He’ll finally have the opportunity to fully show what he can do and because of that he’s just as excited to be a 76er as they are to have him.
“He’s totally excited about being back near home,” Bynum’s agent David Lee said to HOOPSWORLD. “He’s excited about the opportunity there and the team there.”
Lee also said that Bynum was not surprised by the trade. After all, he’s been involved in trade rumors since he first came into the league as a 17-year-old. Whether it was Jason Kidd, Kevin Garnett or Carmelo Anthony who he was associated with, Bynum was always involved in some sort of speculation.
With the 76ers Bynum won’t have to worry about being traded anytime soon, but there will be a lot of interest in whether or not he will sign a contract extension.
One of the big reasons why the Orlando Magic weren’t interested in trading Howard for Bynum straight up was because of his impending free agent status. It reportedly scared the Cleveland Cavaliers away as well. The 76ers were willing to take a chance on Bynum despite the fact that he could leave at the end of the season as an unrestricted free agent without them getting anything in return.
Bynum is eligible to sign a three-year $57.1 million extension any time before July 1. If he becomes a free agent, by virtue of having his bird rights, the 76ers could offer him a five-year contract worth $101.9 million. Other teams can only offer him a four years.
The Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets are all projected to have cap space next summer and very well could be interested in offering Bynum a max deal.
“We have not had that discussion yet,” Lee said when asked if they were open to discussing an extension with the 76ers or set on hitting free agency.
In Related: Bynum’s former teammates Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant, who played vital roles in his development, gave their farewells to him from the London Olympics.
“I wish nothing but the best for Big Bynum,” Bryant said on his official Facebook account. “I hope he follows what was a great season last year with an even better one next year.”
“I wish the best to my friend Andrew,” Gasol said. “He’s a player who is talented and full of potential.”
Nuggets Welcome Iguodala
Like the 76ers, the Denver Nuggets were very pleased to be able to get an all-star caliber player like Andre Iguodala as a part of the massive Howard trade. Iguodala will step into the starting shooting guard position for the Nuggets and bring an all-around presence that should push them further up the Western Conference standings.
“It’s not often you get the opportunity to improve your team by adding an All-Star player like Andre Iguodala,” Ujiri said in an official press release. “He’s an Olympian, a great defender and a great all-around player. We think he fits in really well with the type of system coach George Karl runs and the team we have here in Denver.”
Iguodala is currently pursuing a gold medal in London with Team USA, but did take time to express his joy over his new team.
“I’m excited to be heading to Denver,” Iguodala said. “I have a great relationship with (team president) Josh Kroenke, and I really respect what he and Masai have built with the Nuggets. They’re a great young team with an excellent coaching staff, led by Coach Karl. I also feel like I will really complement their system and roster, both offensively and defensively.
“At the same time, I also would like to thank the Philadelphia 76ers and their fans for eight amazing years. Philly will always have a special place in my heart, and I will cherish the great memories with the city and my teammates there.”
The addition of Iguodala really seals the deal on an extremely-quick rebuilding process for the Nuggets, who were in a state of uncertainty just a year and a half ago due to now New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony’s trade demands. With Iguodala, Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee, Danilo Gallinari and the rest of the talented pieces Ujiri has assembled, the Nuggets are poised to be a force to reckon with both in the present and future.
A Big Change For Harkless
When the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Maurice Harkless 15th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft it looked like he was going to have a rookie season full of mainly watching from the sidelines and learning from veterans Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner. He showed at the Orlando Summer League that he had a lot of potential, but was probably a year or so away from being NBA ready.
With the blockbuster trade sending him to the Orlando Magic, that all changes. Harkless will now have the chance to learn under fire with an expansive role on the rebuilding Magic. The Magic are going to give Harkless every opportunity to succeed and most importantly they will be patient with him. They understand that he’s going to take him time to develop and believe that in the end he’ll be well worth the wait.
Sources close to Harkless said that he immediately had a positive attitude about the trade. When it became official, he went to his twitter account to make a statement.
“Enjoyed my short stay in Philly but excited to get started in Orlando now!” Harkless tweeted.
Harkless averaged 5.5 points and three rebounds in two games at summer league. As a freshman at St. John’s he averaged 15.3 points, 8.6 rebounds. 1.4 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.6 steals a contest.
Lakers Ink Jodie Meeks
According to Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Times the Los Angeles Lakers have come to an agreement with free agent shooting guard Jodie Meeks. Medina reports the deal is for two-years and worth $3 million. Meeks has a player option for year two.
Meeks has spent the last three years of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers after briefly starting off his career with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Lakers are bringing him in primarily for his three-point shooting. On his career he’s a .371 shooter from beyond the arc.
The signing of Meeks and small forward Devin Ebanks, who they came to terms with earlier in the offseason, likely ends an offseason for the ages for the Lakers.
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