And I thought the day just couldn't get any better for the Philadelphia 76ers.
While nothing is set it stone, the latest Tweet from ESPN NBA analyst J.A. Adande should have 76ers fans jumping for joy (keep an eye on the second sentence):
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) August 10, 2012
The Sixers were "willing to take a shot" with this trade (via ESPN), seeing as they received no previous commitment from Andrew Bynum on whether the former Lakers center would re-up with Philly with his contract set to expire.
This news only corroborates common sense: When Bynum becomes eligible for free agency after the 2012-13 season, the only team that can offer him a five-year max deal—worth nearly $100 million—is Philadelphia, thanks to the new CBA.
Other teams would only able to offer only four years and money in the range of $78 million, more than a stone's throw from what new owner Josh Harris and company will be willing to throw at their new superstar.
Bynum, surprisingly, is also a local product who'd likely be interested in returning home for the long run.
He grew up in Plainsboro, N.J., which is just over an hour away from the Wells Fargo Center. Playing at St. Joseph's High School in Metuchen, N.J., Bynum averaged 19.2 points, 14.9 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game as a junior and senior.
As you all know, he skipped attending college and made his way directly to the NBA, in a fashion similar to that of fellow local product Kobe Bryant.
If the 76ers are indeed able to keep Bynum longer than one season, next season's free agency period could be extremely interesting, with players like Chris Paul and Monta Ellis hitting the open market.
Next year is a "year of reckoning" of sorts for Kwame Brown, Nick Young, Dorell Wright and Jrue Holiday. By parting ways with all but Jrue, the 76ers could save up to $17 million, which could go to another superstar to pair with Bynum.
With a dominant center and potentially an All-Star guard like Paul or Ellis, the team would make its presence in the East felt by 2013-14 at the latest.
The 24-year-old is set to make $16.5 million next season, but the 76ers could avoid free agency altogether by extending him with a contract worth up to three years and $60 million during the season.