Philadelphia 76ers Face Lose-Lose Situation Waiting on Andrew Bynum's Return

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2012

October 13, 2012; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum (33) sits on the bench during a game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE
Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

The Philadelphia 76ers might not be saying so publicly but they're probably wishing privately that the NBA had a version of a lemon law. It seems they might have gotten a seven-foot, 285-pound lemon. Or they got the best center in the Eastern Conference and they're still very happy privately. 

That's the conundrum the Philadelphia 76ers are in right now, and there doesn't seem to be anything they can do about it. They obtained a player who, when healthy, has every bit the ability to become a dominant player in the game.

In a time when the great low-post scorers are more rare than jelly doughnuts in the presence of Stan Van Gundy, a healthy Andrew Bynum would gobble up Eastern Conference centers like...Stan Van Gundy gobbling up a box full of jelly doughnuts. . 

But the operative word here is "healthy." The problem is that he's not healthy, and there's no telling when he's going to be healthy. After undergoing a knee procedure which was supposed to be minor, he has a bone bruise according ESPN's Brian Windhorst, who points to the problem the 76ers have.  

It was going to be the third week in October and now we're sitting at the end of the first week of November, and for all we know, we are further away from Bynum Day than we were when he had his knee procedure.

There's no estimated date, no notion of when Bynum will come in. And the 76ers are sitting on the second-worst offense in the NBA while they're waiting for him to come in.  

So much of the depth that helped them to the second round of the playoffs last year is now gone and its just a bad team without them or him no matter how well coached they are.

There could be a feeling to press him into action before he's ready. Yet if they do that they risk him being hurt even worse. And then they traded away all that talent for nothing. 

If they play him, they risk the rest of the season. If they don't, they risk the rest of the season not mattering. How far can they afford to fall back in the improving Eastern Conference? They're not likely to get lucky enough to land an eighth seed that gets beaten by injuries again this year.

It seems to be a lose-lose situation, but it could just as easily become a lose-lose-lose situation since Bynum is an unrestricted free agent next year. He's expressed interest in sticking around, but for how much?

How much can they offer him when they can't rely on him. How can they know if they can rely on him if they don't know if he can play? If they do play him, what happens if his knee goes out?

It seems like in regard to Bynum the Sixers are in a no-win situation, and because of that there's no way of knowing what kind of contract to offer him. 

It's hard to imagine there's not a certain amount of cursing in the Philadelphia front office right now, or for that matter a lot of giggling in the Los Angeles Lakers front office.