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NBA PM: The Andrew Bynum Dilemma
Posted By Bill Ingram On May 17, 2013 @ 5:00 pm In NBA | No Comments
Former Kansas guard Ben McLemore addressed the media at the 2013 NBA Draft Combine.Watch More Video Here
The Andrew Bynum Dilemma
When the Philadelphia 76ers landed Andrew Bynum as part of a multi-team trade last summer it was supposed to usher in an era of playoff basketball for Philly . . .perhaps even an era during which the Sixers would become perennial contenders. Unfortunately, what followed fell well short of the sky-high expectations that Sixers fans dared to set for the team. Knee injuries, a strange bowling incident and eventually more surgery kept Bynum out of action, setting up a very difficult decision for incoming GM Sam Hinkie.
Bynum can become a free agent this summer, and option number one for the Sixers is to re-sign him and make him their franchise cornerstone for years to come. They can, after all, offer him the most money and the longest-term deal, making them the immediate favorites to win any bidding war that might take place with other teams looking to add a player who is, when healthy, one of the best centers in the NBA. The problem with option number one, of course, is that there is a danger inherent in counting on Bynum to get healthy and earn a max contract. He appeared in 60 of 66 games for the Lakers two seasons ago and posted career-best numbers of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. The Sixers believed that if Bynum could give them anything close to those numbers they would be sitting pretty with a shiny new playoff berth at the end of the season. Instead, what the Sixers got what a full load of the problems the Lakers had with Bynum since drafting him in 2005. As good as he was when he was healthy, improving steadily every year and showing the ability to take anyone in the low post, he simply wasn’t healthy enough to become a reliable force for them.
The Lakers finally put him on the market, and were thrilled to land comparative iron man Dwight Howard in trade.
Option number two for the Sixers is to let Bynum walk away. Some other team will absolutely gamble that Bynum can finally get healthy and become a consistent force in the paint. The problem with that option for the Sixers is that they gave up both Andre Iguodala and Nikola Vucevic to get him, and Philly fans have already been grumbling about how much better the team might have been this season with Vucevic in the mix. Vucevic put up Bynum-like numbers for the Orlando Magic and appeared in 77 of Orlando’s 82 games. Watching Bynum walk away for nothing would be a bitter pill for Sixers fans to swallow.
The third and final option for Philly would be to try and find a taker for Bynum and work a sign-and-trade to land some other pieces in exchange. The issue there is that because Bynum didn’t play at all last season his trade value is likely to be low, meaning the Sixers would have to settle for less than Bynum’s value and then risk watching him get healthy and lead some other team to the playoffs.
The options are easy to explain, but it’s not nearly as easy to decide which one to choose. The best-case scenario is for the Sixers to re-sign Bynum, have him finally get healthy and play 70+ games while also being healthy come playoff time. It’s very likely that in such a scenario the Sixers would be a home court advantage team with realistic hopes of challenging Miami for Eastern Conference supremacy. Trouble is, betting on Bynum being healthy is an awfully tough risk to take. There is simply no precedent upon which to base such an expectation. It seems far more likely that he will struggle to stay healthy, leaving Hinkie in all-too-familiar territory after he spent years in Houston waiting for Yao Ming to finally get healthy.
The worst-case scenario is for the Sixers to part company with Bynum, and for him to go and finally get healthy and average 20 points, 12 rebounds and a handful of blocks per game while leading some other team to a deep playoff run. In this scenario, fans of the Sixers would be subjected to watching two former assets perform well in a uniform other than that of the home team.
The hard part is that the only right answer will likely be revealed in hindsight, after the tough decision has been made. Hinkie has worked for years to become a GM, and right off the bat he’ll be faced with a decision that can make or break his new franchise for years to come.
For now, however, you have a chance to play GM yourself. Analyze your options and choose carefully by making your selection in the poll below. The fate of the Philadelphia 76ers is in your hands. Which choice will you make?
Boston Keeping Rivers, Trading Pierce?
As the Boston Celtics prepare for what is almost certain to be a summer of significant change, they started things off by making sure the guiding voice behind their dwindling era of excellence will still be in place as the next era begins.
“Yeah (he’ll be back), Doc and I are talking about our team next year,” Celtics President Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “(No suspense) from my perspective. We’ve got a great coach. We’ve got a coach everybody would love to have and he’s got three years left on his contract and I think Doc likes Boston, too. Coaches get tired, though. It’s a hard job.”
There was speculation at the end of Boston’s first round elimination that Rivers might either want to retire or look to work out an arrangement with Boston that would allow him to pursue other opportunities, so Ainge’s proclamation that Rivers, who reached 400 wins as the Celtics’ head coach on February 6th, is remaining with the team is a critical first step in Boston’s offseason revamp.
Washburn went on to report that Paul Pierce’s family is preparing to relocate, as the Celtics appear to be on the verge of either trading him or buying him out. Pierce has a $5 million buyout on the final year of his contract that would otherwise pay him in excess of $15 million, though it seems more likely that Boston would look to trade him a team looking for one more piece to put them over the top, or one looking for an expiring deal to help them rebuild in 2014. In either case, Pierce fits the bill. He clearly has something left in the tank after averaging 19.2 points per game this season. His efficiency rating fell off a cliff, due in part to the absence of Rajon Rondo to help Pierce get easier shots, but on a team where he is not expected to carry a large share of the load, like Dallas, for example, Pierce can still deliver.
The next piece of Boston’s summer puzzle will almost certainly be Kevin Garnett, whom many expect to retire. Garnett’s name was being floated heavily before the trade deadline, though he was clear in saying that he was not about to waive his no-trade clause because he wanted to retire in Boston. That was after he ominously, or perhaps cryptically, predicted that he was appearing in his last All-Star game. Was Garnett telling us that he was ready to retire? If he wasn’t the removal of Pierce by either trade or buy-out would almost certainly push him to either retire or accept a trade.
The Celtics had a good run with core group that included Garnett and Pierce, making it to the NBA Finals twice and winning a championship along the way. But as we saw in this year’s postseason play, their time is over. It’s time for Boston to reload.
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