Philadelphia 76ers: Will the Andrew Bynum Trade Help Them Become a Contender?

John MillerCorrespondent IIIAugust 12, 2012

Can Andrew Bynum transfer his Los Angeles success to Philadelphia?
Can Andrew Bynum transfer his Los Angeles success to Philadelphia?Harry How/Getty Images

The hate on Philly sports talk radio is in full effect against the Philadelphia 76ers. There's no reason to knock how good of a player Andre Iguodala is. He is one of the best 10 players on the USA Olympic basketball team. The same team that claims to be better than the original "Dream Team."

But we have to be honest. Andre Iguodala is (at best) a Scottie Pippen-type of player. He's not going to carry your team by himself as the primary option. And where were the Sixers going with Iguodala? To a first-round playoff defeat? A second-round loss in an ideal world?

Andrew Bynum has his faults. He's also 7' tall, under the age of 25 and when healthy, he's proved to be a top 25 player in the NBA. There are (depending on your point of view) two elite centers in their prime. One of them is Andrew Bynum.

If you can get a legitimate NBA center, you pull the trigger first and ask questions later. Every. Single. Time. The Houston Rockets would've been thrilled to get Bynum as their consolation prize to missing out on Dwight Howard. This is not a small thing. This is kind of a big deal.

Will Bynum re-sign with the Sixers? No player has yet to turn down a true maximum extension. Even LeBron and Chris Bosh had the option of the max when they were signed-and-traded to the Heat. Bynum is from New Jersey, which shouldn't hurt the Sixers' cause.

The pressure really isn't on Andrew Bynum. It's on coach Doug Collins, Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. The Sixers (in theory) have the young pieces to form a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference. If you want to beat the Heat, you have to kill them at the point guard and center positions. All while having athletic wings that can defend and hit open jumpers.

The Sixers could fit that mold. In an ideal world, they would've found a way to have enough money to offer Bynum a max extension while having enough room to offer a max deal to another (hopefully worthy) superstar. That's probably off of the table now, unless the Sixers move (or elect not to re-sign) Holiday or Turner.

Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes are the key here. If they can provide enough punch and defense in the post next to Bynum, the Sixers are a legitimate playoff team with room to grow. If Doug Collins can't corral a bunch of young players playing for new contracts, things could end in a very ugly fashion.

But as the Sixers were constructed three days ago, they weren't any kind of threat to elite teams in the playoffs. While subtracting one of the best two wing defenders in the league isn't usually a path to success, the Sixers can replicate a lot of what Iguodala gave them with the players currently on their roster.

If Bynum leaves after the 2012-13 season, the Sixers might be doomed to the depths of the draft lottery. But at least then they might be bad enough to get the superstar that they need. But if the basketball gods are good, maybe Andrew Bynum will be that superstar they need.

Am I crazy? Should the Sixers have kept Iguodala? Is it just nuts that the Lakers managed to get Steve Nash and Dwight Howard while keeping Pau Gasol? Use the comments or hit me up on Twitter. No matter what, at least there won't be a lockout this season.


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