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Sixers will consider Bynum return but have bigger issues to deal with

Apr 19, 2013, 12:35 PM EDT

Philadelphia 76ers introduce Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers gambled and lost. They traded Andre Iguodala to get back Andrew Bynum and rebuild their roster around an elite big man. Problem was, he’s an elite big man with terrible knees that never saw the court.

And the aftermath of that decision is just beginning to come to down on the team.

Coach Doug Collins has walked away. The next question is if GM Tony DiLeo will be back — he only took over as GM last September (after the Bynum trade) but his contract is now up and has not been renewed.

Then there are the on-the-court questions, starting with do you try to re-sign free agent Andrew Bynum, and if so at what price? Team owner Joshua Harris said they would keep an open mind and consider a Bynum return, speaking to CSNPhilly.com.

“A healthy Bynum that’s playing is a needle-mover, a top-15 player,” Harris continued. “But the reality is, he didn’t play a game this season. There’s risk. We’re going to weigh the positives and the negatives and try to make a reasoned assessment of what’s appropriate for Andrew. Certainly we’re open to the prospect of bringing him back.”

After a disaster of a season, Harris is trying to sell hope to a fan base that was excited after the Bynum trade and has since become disillusioned.

“I feel like we’re going to build a high-quality organization and we’ll attract a high-quality coach,” Harris insisted. “This is a good situation. We have a bunch of young assets. We have a bunch of cap room. We have an All-Star. And then we have a bunch of draft picks. I think you guys are painting this as a dire situation. It’s really not.”

Actually, it’s not good.

John Gonzalez breaks it down well at CSNPhilly.com. First, they do have three young assets of quality — Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young. If you want to throw Spencer Hawes on that list, I’ll listen to your argument. But that is one quality point guard and some rotation players, it lacks the game changer that even Iguodala could be.

Draft picks? In this draft the Sixers have their first rounder (No. 11 unless there is a miracle in the lottery) and two second rounders. That’s nice, but there will be no game changers at that spot.

And as for that cap space, I’ll let Gonzalez explain.

If the Sixers don’t re-sign Bynum, Nick Young and Dorell Wright, all of whom are unrestricted free agents, they’ll still have about $46 million in salary commitments for next season…. If, as expected, the NBA salary cap is about $60 million next year, that leaves the Sixers $14 million. Except they’ll also have to pay their first-round pick, so subtract, oh, another $3 million. That leaves them with approximately $11 million for free agency.

If the Sixers re-sign Bynum he could cut into that cap space, so they would likely do it after they go after and ink any free agents. But $11 million in cap space doesn’t get you that much on the free agent market — it likely doesn’t get you even a Josh Smith kind of player, it more likely gets you a couple mid-level type guys. That’s not changing things.

There needs to be a new top-to-bottom plan in Philadelphia. Harris needs to find the GM/president with that vision, lock him up and let him do the years of work it’s going to take to get the Sixers roster fixed.

  1. 4thquartermagic - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    That picture may as well be a mugshot seeing as how Bynum robbed the sixers for millions.

    • fanofevilempire - Apr 19, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      what’s another 11 million.

  2. lakerluver - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    At this point, their darned if they do and darned if they don’t. They traded away too much to just let him go somewhere else for nothing. If that happens, and he plays well for someone else, Philly will look terrible. They should try to sign him and hope that he gets healthy. Bynum is worth the risk, in my opinion.

  3. philly4lyfe - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    sad state of affairs

  4. lakerluver - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    @4th,
    Bynum didn’t rob them, he has bad knees. Philly took a chance on a guy with a history of knee problems and it hasn’t panned out. I believe Bynum wants to be in Philly and wants to play. LAKERS fans watched him play on one leg to help the LAKERS win titles. He might be eccentric but I don’t believe he’s the type of player that’s going to steal money.

    • somekat - Apr 20, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      Maybe he did when he was in LA, but he doesn’t want to play for the sixers. That much is obvious. I knew by xmas he wasn’t gonna see the floor. “I don’t want to have to play through pain”, what NBA player isn’t playing through pain by the end of a season? The guy has no heart.

      As a sixers fan, who would still make that deal again (the team with Iggy reached it’s cieling, they were a average team in cap hell, worst thing you can be in the NBA), I have no interest in resigning this guy. Ride out next year, and all those stupid 2 year deals (Kwame Brown being the worst) will run out, and they’ll have closer to 25-30 million next year. The fact that they owe out 3 first round picks doesn’t help (may only be 2, but I’m pretty sure they owe Orlando 2, and Miami 1), but at least Collins is gone, so young guys they do have may actually get a chance to play. Collins should aplogize to every sixers fan for the way he “developed” Vucevic last year, and Moltrie this year. They make a mistake, and they don’t play for a month. Meanwhile Spencer Hawes is terrible on a regular basis, and never loses minutes

  5. andyp03 - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    This is exactly why I hate the NBA. The Sixers haven’t been real contenders in 10 years now – playoffs in ’03 – and yet here we sit, in 2013, and we’re still talking about it taking years to fix this team. It’s ridiculous how difficult it is to turn a team around. The NBA should take pointers from other leagues and their CBA’s.

    • 4thquartermagic - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      I agree with you to an extent. As a fan of a small-market team that every small market should cheer for (The Nuggets) I agree the system is broken. But Philly has also had a run of FA bad luck that has doomed them a bit.

      The Elton Brand signing was supposed to put the franchise over the edge. But he fizzled out. Nick Young was suppose be a stud of the bench, nope. And then there was the decision to move on from Iguodala. No one would’ve guessed Bynum would not play a single minute but he was an injury prone head case who’s love for the game is still in question.

      Philly has some promising young pieces so maybe some good luck has finally come their way.

      • somekat - Apr 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        Nick Young was not supposed to be a stud. If he was, he’d of gotten more than a 1 year offer. He was looked at as a gunner from a bad team with a bad attitude.

        The Brand signing was iffy because he didn’t fit the team at all. The sixers at the time were a young team that ran the floor, Brand was anything but that. They could of got Josh Smith for less money, and been a much better team for it

        They do have some decent young guys, I’ve been singing Holiday’s praises for years (He is example 1 of why they HAD to trade Iggy, if the trade was good is a different argument), and I think Young is highly underrated, and seems to add soemthing to his game every year. Turner is a solid rebounder and defender, but not much else (amazing how his mid range game abandoned him since his days at OSU), and I think Moultrie can progress to a very solid NBA big man, but out side of that, there isn’t anyone on the sixers roster I’m excited about.

        Outside of a miracle in this years lottery (because they don’t have a 1st the next few years), this team is going to be in trouble for the next 5, unless they can convince a top notch FA to come in. Let’s be honest, what top level FA is going to look at Philly as a 1st, or even 2nd or 3rd choice? The only way they bring in a big time FA is to overpay, which is what got them in the situation in the first place.

        Best plan? Hire a top notch GM (vastly overpay if needed), and give him 4-5 years to totally rebuild. As much as I’d hate to see it, see what kind of value Young/Holiday have if you want to move them for picks. 3 years ago, I knew the only way to fix this team was to bottom out, but they obviously didn’t feel that way. Now it is just more obvious

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