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New Sixers CEO apologizes for Andrew Bynum debacle, preaches patience

Jul 26, 2013, 1:02 PM EDT

Scott O'Neil AP

It was a gamble, but I still contend at the time the Philadelphia 76ers made a good one — they had a chance to get Andrew Bynum fresh off a season where he played in 60 of 66 games (it was the lockout year), averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds a game, and shot 55.8 percent. He was an All-Star. He was a big who could make them a threat in the East where the big power was going small.

We all know that ended — Philly pushed its chips in the middle and then the cards gave them a bad beat. Bynum never played a game and essentially the Sixers got nothing out of the Andre Iguodala trade. That bust forced new GM Sam Hinkie to hit the rebuild button again, which led to the trade of Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel.

New Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil, went on Sportsradio 94 with Angelo Cataldi and apologized to fans for the Bynum debacle, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I apologize on behalf of the Sixers to any fan who invested and thought Bynum was going to be their guy and be the savior,” said O’Neil, while being a guest on Cataldi’s radio show. “At the end of the day that’s our apology to every fan – not just to you [he told Cataldi].

“However, we are going to take some chances when we can take some chances. And sometimes, they’re not going to work. And sometimes, they are. When they don’t work, we are not going to ever talk about a player negatively. That’s not going to help us or the franchise or the fans. That’s not going to help us recruit. It doesn’t help us go out and grab free agents. It doesn’t help us when we are evaluating talent. It doesn’t help us when we are talking to coaches. It just doesn’t help.”

O’Neil hit the right tone speaking with — being patient sucks when you are a fan, but Sixers fans need to do it again. The plan laid out now is a good course — get bad to get good. If you’re going to be bad, the deepest draft since 2003 is the year to do it.

“We certainly hear (complaints from fans). Where our focus is when we hear it is pretty clearly to talk about what the plan is, and we like this plan,” he said….

“Sam (Hinkie) has set us up with cap flexibility to make some moves that will set us up for long-term, sustainable greatness,” O’Neil said. “We don’t want to flex between 38 and 42 [wins]. We can do that. We’ve done it. We’ve done it for a decade. We’re not happy with that, the fans aren’t happy with that and we’re going to have to make some changes to make sure we’re going in the right direction.”

If the Sixers brought back Jrue Holiday to pair with Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young, the Sixers would have been around a .500 team, maybe made the playoffs (maybe not) and be stuck in a rut that is the middle of the NBA pack. If you want to win rings, that rut is not the place to be.

There are real risks in getting bad to get good. It’s a gamble, and sometimes when you gamble the cards don’t go your way. But it’s better to do that than stand pat and play it safe all the time.

  1. nghtrder169 - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Bynum was a great move at the time…and blowing it up for a chance at Wiggins is also the right move… But what’s up with their coaching situation

    • tfoz5150 - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      we dont need a coach this year

      • nghtrder169 - Jul 26, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        Lol so who ever is comin is a sacrificial lamb – develop our young talent we dont care about our record…in 3-4 years right when we about to start winning games and maybe you win a coach of the year award, we gonna fire you & by the way because of your horrible record during that time no one will hire you again lol – NBA TV is always hiring

  2. 00maltliquor - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    I seriously doubt bringing back Thad, Turner AND Jrue would make them a .500 team. I bet they would have won 35-38 games max with that trio.

    • tfoz5150 - Jul 26, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      maybe they would have rolled the dice on bynum again for another year. that was the plan afterall.

  3. barkley4life - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    As a fan for 30 years this is the best direction this team has had since Pat Croce was the spokesman. Ed Snider could care less and was worried about the Flyers more often then not.

    Looking toward to the upcoming moves.

    • somekat - Jul 26, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      couldn’t care less

      could care less implies he did care

  4. cantonbound13 - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    The sixers are in good hands with O’Neil. They are doing the right thing. 3-5 years from now they will be a solid contender.

  5. dolphins4 - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Bynum is a bum.Cleveland is going to be sorry they signed him.

  6. sackings916 - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    I agree Bynum is a bum! Never been a fan of his antics. As a Kings fan here in Sac I’m hoping DeMarcus Cousins can get his head straight and not walk in the same shoes as Bynum.

  7. jadaruler - Jul 26, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    Bynum not playing was a blessing in disguise. They bought into the fools gold of making it to the second round and thought they were 1 player away from contending.

    Last year gave them the chance to see how weak they really were. They’re moving in the right direction now.

  8. dezglobal - Jul 26, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Never apologize for anything.

  9. kvanhorn87 - Jul 26, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Finally. A real article written with some intelligence.

  10. thenoffer - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    They should let all fans who bought a Bynum jersey trade it in for another player like the Patriots did with Hernandez. I am certainly not comparing Bynum to Hernandez in any way, shape, or form.

  11. acdc84 - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    Obviously they got the shaft with Bynum, but besides the money they paid him for a year of not playing they’re no worse for wear. They weren’t going to win anything with Iguadala on the team last year and they would have been hard-pressed to trade him for significant youngsters. They took a chance and it turned out to be a bust, but if you regularly take chances like this you’ll hit sometimes, and that’s enough to take a chance on an All-Star caliber center with huge upside.

  12. tcclark - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    What are the risks in getting bad to get good? What’s the worst thing that could happen? They could be good? I’ll take that risk.

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