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In the NBA, limbo is hell, and the Philadelphia 76ers have been stuck in limbo for nearly a decade.
The Sixers have languished in the undesirable purgatory between contender and lottery team for a long while. Since the 2003 season, the 76ers have never finished higher than sixth in the Eastern conference. Their lowest finish was in 2010, when they had the seventh-worst record in the league.
Without a top lottery pick in their recent past, the Sixers grew into an athletic young team that lacked the requisite alpha-dog star to contend in the NBA.
With former Lakers center Andrew Bynum on the roster, the 76ers have a franchise player at last, one who makes them a true threat in the East.
The primary piece that the Sixers relinquished was wingman Andre Iguodala, who is an elite defender and a strong slasher but one who is wildly overpaid and too inefficient to carry a contending team's scoring load. In short, he's Robin when he was expected to be Philly's Batman.
In exchange they got the 24-year-old Bynum, who finally managed to stay healthy last season, earning his first All-Star appearance on the way to posting a double-double for his season averages: 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds to go along with nearly two blocks a game.
Philly affords Bynum the opportunity to shoulder the scoring load, which SG Kobe Bryant wouldn't allow him to do in Los Angeles. Given the relative lack of elite post presences in the Eastern Conference, Bynum has a chance to cement his legacy as an elite scorer next season, if he can stay healthy.
Of course, the deal is a risk: Bynum is a free agent next season, has a long history of injuries and has character issues in his recent past (ranging from his suspension for clotheslining J.J. Barea to his unwillingness to sit in on Lakers' huddles).
Still, the Sixers needed to take a big risk like this. For better or worse, the Sixers are no longer stuck in NBA limbo.