Philadelphia 76ers: Goodbye Andrew Bynum, Hello Josh Smith?

By Ryan Heckman
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers have a big decision to make this offseason. Last year, they went after a giant name via trade, landing former Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum. That move was supposed to give the 76ers a cornerstone to build on for years to come.

That didn’t happen…

…at least not yet.

The 76ers could still re-sign Bynum this offseason. But, after not playing a single game for them in 2012, how do they know he is worth a long-term deal? Actually, how does anyone know he is worth a long-term deal?

What the team could wind up doing instead is letting Bynum walk and investing in an established name on the market this summer. One of the biggest names hitting free agency is Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith. Having been on the trade block for what seems like years on end, Smith is seeking a big deal elsewhere.

The 76ers may just be the potential suitor he is looking for. Of course, that may take some convincing of Smith to head to a team like Philadelphia. Not exactly title contenders yet, the 76ers still have a few pieces to get in place. Smith would be a nice start for them, especially playing with a guy like Thaddeus Young. Joining a front court that also features Spencer Hawes would form an underrated but very interesting group down low.

Young and Smith would surely be exciting to watch and could give point guard Jrue Holiday some interesting highlight reels when all is said and done.

Smith has been somewhat inconsistent at times, but overall is a phenomenal player with still tons of room to improve. Defensively, Smith is a great shot blocker and rebounder. Last season to go with his 17.5 points, he put up 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He also chipped in over four assists per game as well.

There are few players with the arsenal that Smith possesses. He is an all-around player that needs the right team and environment to succeed. In Philadelphia, he could be ‘the man’ and with the direction of Holiday they could develop into a very exciting tandem. Smith may be a long shot for the 76ers in some eyes, but with the right type of offer it wouldn’t be too crazy to see him wearing a Philadelphia uniform come summer time.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior NBA writer for also contributing to the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmheckman  or add him to your network on Google.

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