I can’t believe I’m actually writing a blog post about the Sixers in August. Usually this time of year in Philly is reserved for the Phillies and Eagles but 2012 has been one crazy thing after another when it comes to Philly sports. The Phillies are playing out the string while the Sixers are making bold moves and stealing the headlines from everyone else in town. It all sounded too good to be true. The Philadelphia 76ers landed Andrew Bynum in a 4 way deal that saw the team send long time Sixer Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets. Aside from Iguodala the Sixers also sent Nikola Vucevic, and this year’s first round draft pick Maurice Harkless along with a lottery-protected first-round pick to the Magic. The Sixers also received veteran sharp shooter Jason Richardson in the deal. The deal is probably the first legitimate acquisition since the team acquired Dikembe Mutombo in a trade over a decade ago. Sure the Sixers did strike a deal for Chris Webber and signed Elton Brand but lets face it both of those players were over the hill by the time they reached Philly. Bynum comes to town at 24 years of age entering the prime of his career which could be scary for the rest of the Eastern Conference.
I love this trade for many reasons, first and foremost it shows me this team is not only making strides to exit the state of mediocrity they’ve been stuck in since the exit of Allen Iverson but they want to make the moves necessary to build a championship caliber team. Sure the Sixers gave up their best player in Iguodala and some young talent in Harkless and Vucevic but that’s all they were was young, unproven talent. No one knows for sure how either of their careers will play out but the fact is you gave up something that may happen for talent that’s a sure thing.
As far as Andre Iguodala goes I for one didn’t mind him over the years. He had some of the most memorable dunks I can remember but the fact was he just didn’t have IT when it comes to being the main guy on a team. For whatever reason he maxed out his talent probably a few years ago and with his all-star appearance and great playoff performance this past season the time was now to get as much value for him as possible when it came to a trade.
Here’s the deal though, the Sixers finally have a legitimate star big man. Bynum will create a buzz in this town we haven’t seen since the days of Allen Iverson. He’s controversial, polarizing, and can play ball with the best of them. It’s everything you’d want from a star player in a big city and this franchise hasn’t had it in quite some time. Demand for tickets will surely increase this season and Bynum will without a doubt do something or say something that will get people talking because that’s just how he is.
At 24 years of age Bynum has been through the wars of championship basketball with one of the all time greats Kobe Bryant. He’ll bring a wealth of experience to a team in need of a legitimate leader. The Sixers came up a win shy of appearing in the Eastern Conference finals last season and that was without Bynum so as long as everyone stays healthy I like our chances of going farther next season. I’m NOT saying the Sixers are ready to step up and contend for the East with the Heat but they certainly have the chance to improve upon last season’s results.
Bynum also comes to town with only 1 year remaining on his current contract. Some of you are thinking this deal would end up being disastrous if he decides to sign elsewhere after this season. WRONG. The deal is a win/win for the Sixers. They have a full season to convince Bynum he should sign long term with the team. He grew up in Plainsboro NJ about an hour north of Philly so they certainly have the local ties thing going for them. Not only that, but Bynam wants to be the top dog on a team. He’s lived under the shadow of guys like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in LA. It’s a known fact Bynum wanted a chance to get out of their shadows and be the leader of a team and what better place to do that then in front of your home town squad.
If Bynum decides he’d like to test the free agent market after next season and sign elsewhere it’s still a winning situation for the team. His salary comes off the books, combined with the money you lost from moving Andre Iguodala and all of a sudden the Sixers have plenty of cash to spend in next summer’s free agent market.
Either way you can’t go wrong with this deal and it’s fantastic to see pro basketball getting some recognition in this town once again. It’s August and we’re talking Sixers basketball. I’m not sure if 2012 can get any crazier when it comes to Philly sports. Start getting your tickets from now because The Andrew Bynum era is about to begin.