In what was undoubtedly the biggest move of the 2012 NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers swapped elite big men when they traded Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard (via ESPN Dallas). Instead of the Orlando Magic, however, it was the Philadelphia 76ers who landed Bynum.
In return, the Sixers shipped out franchise player Andre Iguodala. To sum the deal up, the NBA just saw three All-Stars change cities in one monster trade.
What is important to note about this trade is that, at the time it was done, Howard and Bynum were recovering from severe injuries. D-12 had just undergone back surgery, while Bynum was still nursing the knee that has bothered him throughout the entirety of his career (via ESPN.com).
Upon arriving in Philadelphia, Bynum had yet another non-invasive procedure done on the knee (via Philly.com). This beckons the question that the Sixers management and fanbase do not want to face.
Have the Philadelphia 76ers acquired damaged goods? The answer may be yes.
According to Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com, Bynum missed today's practice due to discomfort in his right knee.
Bynum did not practice with right knee discomfort. DiLeo to talk to media.— Tom Moore (@tmoorepburbs) October 24, 2012
Moore would proceed to state that head coach Doug Collins was not going to look at Bynum as a lifeline. He also stated that the team will not be able to win if it doesn't believe in itself, which is almost as important as the tidbit before that quote.
Bynum had two shots Monday in knees. 'If this team feels like we can't win without him, we're not going to win,' Collins said.
— Tom Moore (@tmoorepburbs) October 24, 2012
When 76ers general manager Tony Dileo finally stepped up to the speak to the media, the news he provided certainly didn't make fans sleep any easier. In fact, the future looks even worse because of what he had to say.
#Sixers Dileo: Every day Bynum misses makes it less likely he plays in Oct. 31 season opener.— Tom Moore (@tmoorepburbs) October 24, 2012
Bynum was expected by many to lead the 76ers to a high seed in the Eastern Conference postseason structure. At this point, however, it's unclear whether or not he'll be able to lead the team at all.
With yet another episode in this never-ending saga of knee injuries, Bynum's future with the Sixers is in doubt. Keep in mind he will become a free agent after this season and likely command a max contract.
If he were to spend a full year plagued by injuries, would the Sixers take a chance in re-signing him?
With all due respect to a phenomenal player, it appears as if Bynum's injuries may just derail him in his contract year. Whether or not it derails the 76ers' postseason aspirations, however, is another question entirely.
The team has added extraordinary depth on the perimeter with the likes of Jason Richardson, Nick Young and Dorell Wright. The three scorers join Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young in the team's pursuit of establishing perimeter dominance.
With that being said, how could the organization be pleased with trading Andre Iguodala for a player who won't be active? Chances are, it isn't.
As coach Doug Collins states, however, they'll have to learn to play without him. Even if Bynum does return at full health, there is no telling how long it will take for the All-Star center to become familiar with the tendencies and nuances of the Sixers' offense.
Just ask Collins himself.
#Sixers Collins: 'I have no idea how long it will take (to get Bynun ready once he gets on court.'— Tom Moore (@tmoorepburbs) October 24, 2012
More on this story as it further develops.