Since the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Andrew Bynum, he has always been in the back of every fan's and the organization's mind, despite knowing his injury will take time to heal. The fact of the matter is this will not and should not change. However, the real question is what do the 76ers need in order to rid their doubts and avoid the organization from looking like fools.
Yes, "fools" is an appropriate term to use when you look at the worst-case scenario.
Imagine if Bynum does not play a single minute this year. The Sixers still have faith and make an attempt to re-sign him, but Bynum simply takes the money and runs to a new team. Suddenly, the Sixers are left in the same stage of mediocrity everyone thought they had found their way out of.
But wait, there's more. Not only would they have made no progress, but they would have given up significant value to get nowhere.
Now, to be fair, many thought (and still feel) that even if Bynum leaves, it is OK. And in a way, there is not much to argue against here. Before the deal, the Sixers did not have a championship in its future, despite their competitiveness. Going all-in for a guy like Bynum with rebuilding as an alternative if it does not work out was completely reasonable and probably their best option at the time.
However, it is primarily the idea that a majority of the fanbase was convinced they finally had something after showering him with praise at his press conference. Heck, he even assured that he wanted to make Philadelphia his home. If he leaves, then the word "fool" can be written all over this situation.
Sadly, despite their reasonable way of originally going about this, this foolishness will inevitably be forever painted on them if Bynum leaves. It's just the way the general public will respond and how the media will portray the situation.
Now, obviously I am speaking in extremes here, but it is part of what is being brought to question. What if this happens? We need to view the worst possible scenario in order to judge what they need from him this season to avoid that exact tragedy.
As I think, we can all conclude after observing the potential worst-case scenario, the Sixers need to re-sign him. As stated earlier, if he leaves, the foolishness is painted all over the situation.
What do they need to fix this? Well, first things first: If Bynum wants to sign another max-contract anywhere, he needs to play in some games competitively this season to show that he is healthy.
Essentially, it works to benefit both parties. If Bynum plays, he proves that he is healthy for a max-contract, and it also looks good on the Sixers' part because, well, he is playing.
However, he needs to play well. Assuming the Sixers make the playoffs, Bynum playing well, perhaps potentially helping them win in the first round, would definitely influence him to stay and the Sixers to re-sign him.
Thus, the Sixers avoid looking like fools, and everything is OK, right? Well, there is a little more to it even if they re-sign Bynum.
Not only must he be consistently healthy, but he needs to display a diligent work ethic, have a good attitude on the court and show he is dedicated to making them a championship team— basically showing he is worth what the Sixers invested in him.
According to John Finger of CSN Philly, Bynum recently claimed that he will play this year, so they are headed in the right direction. However, at the end of the day, Bynum ultimately needs to show what he is worth. If not, then the Sixers will very easily find themselves painted as fools who invested a lot into nothing.