No, Really: Andrew Bynum Presser, Trade A Good Thing For Sixers

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People are upset. Understandably so. Because in his eleventy zillionth media appearance this year, Andrew Bynum gave Sixers fans — and non-Sixers fans, and Philly sports fans, and Philly residents, and South Jersey residents, and… — the Charlie Murphy treatment. At least that's how it feels. 

He reminded you that at his age, all the world — and money in it — lays before him. And with the "it's my life" comment, that he doesn't give a damn what you think. In a way, Bynum's right. He shouldn't have to play through pain — not of the prohibitive or career-threatening sort, anyway. 

But even if it's just a nice thing to do, you should, you know, at least give the guise of trying to actually (as Kyle first italicized) earn your $16 gadzillion. Be a professional. Say the right things at the right times, and try — just try — to not force-feed the wrong things at the wrongest times.  

But Bynum's not a professional. In fact, the descriptors that best capture who he is and what he's about are probably the antonyms thereof: he's arrogant, defiant, irreverent, indignant, petulant. 

And that pisses people off. Again: understandably so. 

But Friday wasn't a tragedy to be mourned. Nor was the trade that served it to Philadelphia.

Quite the opposite. 

Let's start with the here and now: 

Basically, Andrew Bynum's time in Philadelphia is over. He made it clear he's not going to play this season. And without seeing him on this side of…well…whatever the hell is wrong with his knees, the Sixers won't do a one or two-year deal in the $10 million per range. No way. Doug Collins is fed up with him. Rod Thorn has to be. Regardless whether those two have a future here, CEO Adam Aron is too conscious of his regard with (a) fans and (b) Collins' and Thorn's eventual replacements to meddle with even a short-term thing, knowing how easily it could become a long-term thing. 

There's also something to be said of the learning experience. Frankly, Philadelphia — not its basketball or anything — has been a part of something like this. Most haven't. Neither, then, has Aron, whose previous professional expertise was limited to (ironically) distressed assets.

This whole debacle is his, and the franchise's, saving grace. 

Imagine if Bynum had been healthy, had played, had made the Sixers a top-3 team in the East, and the prohibitive favorites to challenge the Miami Heat. He would've had a max contract, five years and $100 million, after the first week of the season. Then what?

People (still) argue that Bynum's worth it (or can be), and use his NBA Championship pedigree with the Lakers as Exhibit A. Only, that's (part of) what made him how he is. Imagine what he'd be with the ego of a two-time NBA Champ and security of one of the biggest contracts in NBA history.

Now, the Sixers have the opportuntity to walk away unscathed, and, maybe, better for it. 

On the trade at the time: 

People forget the circumstances. They forget Andre Iguodala's contract, and the fans' fatigue with him. They forget the wealth of "tweeners" — Iguodala, Evan Turner, Thad Young, Moe Harkless, Arnett Moultrie — on the roster, and how with an interior presence they all would've fallen into place. They forget that Nikola Vucevic wasn't a Doug Collins guy, and so had no future here. They forget that Harkless was an iffy prospect coming out, and might not have had a future anywhere. (He still may not.) They forget that all the Sixers signings and trades earlier that offseason were to enable exactly that type of move, a shot, a prayer, low-risk, high-reward.

Most importantly, they forget, change sometimes changes people. Even people like Bynum. 

For someone like me — an irregular CB contributor, and the guy who wrote this — to again put pen to paper on the issue might come off like me (again, in homage to Kyle…) "swinging (my) dick." Far from it. I'll acknowledge that I was one of the few to curl a lip, to raise an eyebrow, to first consider the circumstances, not the sensation. Sure, I called it: Bynum was, as I said, "radioactive." And that should've been seen from a mile away as something that could've precipitated this.

But let's be real: Nobody saw the knee thing coming. Not the Lakers. Not the Sixers. (Bynum? I think we've wasted enough time figuring out what makes this guy tick. Who gives a shit.) Not me. And certainly not any of you. Of course, that too pisses you off. You feel duped. Punk'd. Played. For a fan base that's smarter than it gets credit for, and, again, never gets credit for it, that stings. 

But it's important to remember what actually happened, and why. Bynum's degenerative condition isn't what's broken your heart. It's him. His attitude. His work ethic. His (any virtue you've ever seen on a plaque in a high school locker room). If the guy was too hurt to play, but bothered to consider your emotional investment, you'd be bummed out, but you wouldn't feel disrespected. 

Let that sink in, because it should change the way you feel about it — and yourselves.  

There are other considerations to be made here. 

For one, after Collins' push for power this offseason, he not only had a significant role in trading for Bynum, but also (maybe) in scaring off the guy who could've fixed this: Danny Ferry, who spurned the Sixers after it was reportedly a done deal to replace Thorn as GM and instead became President of the Hawks, almost the worst job ever, yet one he'll make due with, because he's, well, him. (The fact that Tom Penn did the same thing seemingly 30 seconds later supports the Collins Scared Him Off theory.) And for that, maybe more than his essential concession in that awesomely bad 11-minute meltdown that he has no influence over a team he built, Collins' future should be in serious question. 

Another, Bynum isn't walking away scot-free. This will catch up to him. Maybe sooner rather than later. But eventually, no matter how badly NBA clubs will covet the consummate counter-culture move — attacking with a big and a guard in swing player-driven league — they won't sacrifice gadzillions on Bynum. At least not the kind he wants. One day, you'll indulge in his disappointment. 

For now, though, take what happened for what it is: a learning experience.

And not a bad thing for the Sixers. 


11 Responses

  1. Wow…This takes me back to the old days of this site when it actually had decent content–not the irrelevant, idiotic, agenda ridden, race baiting trash that Kyles been lazily churning out recently. (Idc if he means to race bait or not–take one look at all the racist comments that have been allowed to pollute this site and you can clearly see that the fish are circling something in the water)
    First great read on here in a VERY long time. Well done Matt.

  2. Backhanded compliment of the year award goes to John. Congrats, John. Your prize is in the mail… whenever I get around to it once I wash this black face off.

  3. I was as excited about the acquisition of Bynum as everyone else here. Turns out, the Sixers, the media and the fans were sold a bill of goods, and we bought it, hook, line and sinker. Now that the Bynum error is officially over, it’s time for the Sixers to do the right thing and cut this smacked ass loose—-AFTER the season ends of course. And they shouldn’t even THINK about bringing Bynum back next season when it’s clear he has about as much interest in playing here as I’m eager to vacation in Chernobyl this summer. Just another sad moment in the long and mostly pathetic history of Philadelphia sports.

  4. I don’t understand how this was “good” for the Sixers? Good at the time do you mean? Yeah I guess it was because apparently the medical staff signed off on Bynum and everyone thought he was going to play. But with hindsight, I can’t say it was good now. We gave up Iguodala, a first round pick, Vucevic, and Moe Harkless for basically nothing. Whether or not you think those guys are good or would fit into the Sixers plans, certainly they had value to other teams around the NBA. So they could’ve gotten at least something tangible for them. Not too mention the fact that they gave up an extra first round pick for nothing. So maybe it was the right move to make when it went down—and I agree with you if that’s the point you’re advocating—but I can’t think it was a good thing as a whole since they gave up three players drafted in the top 16 overall and another first round pick for 33 games and three shitty knees between Bynum and Jason Richardson.

  5. Well if Bynum did anything he’s making people miss Iguodala and Vucevic. If those two guys were here the Sixer would have the 7th or 8th seed wrapped up by now. They would lose in the 1st round 4-2 to Miami or NY. Then people would be screaming for Iggy to be traded. Vucevic would probably be averaging 15 mins a game with unspectacular stats because Collins didn’t like his lack of defense. Either way with the kneeless Bynum or with Iggy, Vucevic, and Harkless the Sixers are going the same direction which is nowhere. But, keep missing those 3 guys, I know I miss the bitching about Iggy and the questions of why Collins isn’t playing the young guys. If the sixers don’t pull the trigger on that trade, all they would have accomplish is another early 1st round exit.

  6. Wow. I’ve finally come across a solid, well-written article on Crossing Broad. It’s been a while…
    Ditch Kyle and start your own blog, Matt.

  7. No, this is not better than just keeping Iggy. Worst trade since the Phillies sent R Sandberg to the Cubbies and got nothing good in return. This is a terrible waste of money, and when the trade happened everyone involved KNEW the dude has knee problems. It was a bad decision from the beginning. They traded away a good player with some value for this horrible season that may just drive Collins from the city when the dust settles. Don’t try sugar coating a turd and call it an eclair, I ain’t biting.

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