The Philadelphia 76ers learned that Andrew Bynum would need surgery on not one, but both knees (via the Associated Press, h/t ESPN), putting an end to this months-long saga that never drew any kind of positive conclusion for the 76ers or their fans.
I'll stop short of calling it season-ending surgery—it seems a player's season should have to start before something can officially end it. But the impact is obvious; Bynum won't play this season and may never actually set foot on a court for the 76ers.
On one hand, it seems as if their fans should be incredibly disappointed that the dominoes have all fallen imperfectly for them, but they should be happy that there's finally an end to this false hope.
With such a long, drawn-out ordeal finally coming to a close, it seems only necessary to take a look back at everything that transpired, just to remind us all of how ridiculous this non-season was for Bynum.
The trade went down on August 10. Philadelphia experienced such jubilation that it received so much for Andre Iguodala and what were, at the time, spare parts.
76ers coach Doug Collins was obviously excited (via NBC Sports):
When you think about adding Andrew Bynum, a big man who can score in the paint, rebound and block shots — something we desperately needed — and Jason Richardson adds another shooter to our lineup, so I’m very excited.
On the flip side of that you have to trade somebody and Andre Iguodala had a brilliant career for the Philadelphia 76ers. I coached him for two years, he helped me win a lot of games. I’m very, very appreciative of him and I wish him well in Denver.
Source: Bynum to undergo precautionary non-invasive knee procedure early in Sept. in Germany.— john mitchell (@JmitchInquirer) August 13, 2012
Even still, it was described as "precautionary" and "non-invasive," so it seemed there were few reasons to worry. Besides, Kobe had the surgery and he's been as good as he's ever been.
While the Sixers had landed a top-tier player, concerns remained that he would play out the season and bolt, so when Bynum talked about being excited and potentially making a home in Philadelphia, some fears were quelled:
Update: Andrew Bynum leaning towards making Philadelphia his home. bit.ly/vIcV9Q— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) August 15, 2012
AndrewBynum on being traded: "I felt like I was coming home. I'm super excited. I thought it was time for a change."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 15, 2012
His introduction that day was weird, as he spoke in a Sixers T-shirt and was incredibly candid. The informal getup and truthful answers were almost a breath of fresh air.
Over the course of the next few months, Bynum had yet to take part in competitive basketball and became stranger and stranger in the process.
Around October is when the hair explosion started:
Andrew Bynum aged 30 years after being traded from L.A. to Philly, which also explains the osteoarthritis injury: twitpic.com/b6bkni— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) October 22, 2012
This was the beginning of a 10-part series from Trey Kerby pondering whether or not Bynum was perpetually in costume.
He suffered a setback in late November after further injuring his knee. The cause of the injury? Bowling.
While bowling isn't specifically prohibited under his contract, it was viewed as an immature, shortsighted thing to do for a player who has yet to actually play for his new team.
It was later revealed that Bynum had gone bungee jumping during his time in L.A., an action that contract stipulations strictly forbid.
With so many childish revelations coming out one right after the other, the perception of Bynum started to change, with at least some questioning glances coming his way from time to time.
Bynum on the Dwight Howard trade: "Personally, I think they traded No. 1 for No. 2."— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) December 16, 2012
Helin (@basketballtalk) December 17, 2012
The confidence he displayed was flattering, and it showed that he was ready to be a No. 1 option. The only problem was that Bynum remained on the sidelines.
Fast-forward another month and Bynum started working out with the team again. The elevation he showed off was likened to that of a bounding toddler, but he was working out.
Heck, there was even some speculation about his return, which was at least moderate progress:
League source: Bynum could be back before All-Star break.— john mitchell (@JmitchInquirer) January 27, 2013
The workouts continued, but no encouraging news came of his situation. Eventually, the workouts slowed down and completely stopped, and that's when it was assumed that Bynum's return was unlikely.
When news dropped that the team's insurance would foot the bill if Bynum were to miss the entire season, it was pretty much set in stone. We wouldn't see Bynum on the floor this year.
Finally, with a little over a month left in the regular season, the 76ers announced that Bynum would have surgery on both of his knees, and that was that.
The future remains uncertain for each party. What Bynum's next salary will look like, whether or not Philadelphia will be the one paying him and how long it'll take before he gets back on the floor are all elements yet to be determined in this saga.
At least this part is over.