The Philadelphia 76ers were very excited to acquire Andrew Bynum in a four-team trade last August, but now it appears that the possibility of season-ending knee surgery could mean the center will never put on the team’s jersey.
Bynum was supposed to be a legitimate threat around the basket for the 76ers while shooters Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young did damage from the outside. However, Philadelphia got royally screwed on the deal, and it is no wonder why they in all likelihood will miss the playoffs this season.
Bynum underwent Orthokine treatments on both of his knees before training camp to help heal his arthritis. He has also had a bone bruise on his right knee, and then injured his left knee while bowling before the start of the regular season.
He was determined to finally make his 76ers debut after the All-Star break, but that has obviously not happened. It was revealed last Friday that the swelling in his right knee has gotten significantly worse and could be what ultimately ends his season before it ever began.
The 25-year-old is considering undergoing arthroscopic surgery on both knees to get rid of any loose cartilage. If Bynum goes through with this, there is no way he will play this season, but that does not mean his time in Philadelphia is over.
General manager Tony DiLeo has made it perfectly clear that the organization wants to build around Bynum if he stays healthy enough to do so.
“He is Plan A,” DiLeo said. “Until we get the answers, until we make a decision, whether like you’re saying it’s a calculated decision or a risk management decision, that’s something we’ll have to make at the end of the year, going into free agency, and that’s something he also has [to figure out]. He’s unrestricted, he can go anywhere he wants to and it’s his career. And he’s only 25 years old. That’s just something we’ll have to see. We just don’t have all the information now.”
Obviously, the right thing for Bynum to do is re-sign with Philadelphia for a cheaper price then what he believes he is worth. Right now, he thinks he will be able to get $16.9 million per season (what he is making in 2012-13) over multiple years in free agency, which is absolutely ridiculous.
There is no question Bynum is talented enough to command that kind of money, but the fact is he has never been healthy and all signs point to him missing several games each year due to various injuries.
If Bynum does indeed never suit up this season, he will have missed a total of 264 games in the seven years he has been in the NBA. That numbers state that he has spent a little over three NBA seasons off of the court.
The 76ers cannot pay him the money he will be seeking this summer, and the teams that can give him that kind of cash simply will not because facts are facts. His best bet at this point is to become the hero of Philadelphia and take a discount to remain with a team that clearly wants his presence.
It may not be the correct financial decision and his agent may disagree to the fullest extent, but it is what is best for both parties at this point.