Andrew Bynum Should Get Second Chance with Philadelphia 76ers

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Andrew Bynum Should Get Second Chance with Philadelphia 76ers
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Things did not go according to plan last season for Andrew Bynum and the Philadelphia 76ers. However, this is not how the story should end.

After being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team trade during the summer, Bynum did not play a single minute for the 76ers. A knee injury kept him out for the entire season and he eventually had surgery in March.

Julius Erving recently even called the player "damaged goods," according to Jason Wolf of USA TodayBasically, Philadelphia gave up Andre Iguodala and Maurice Harkless for absolutely nothing.

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The end result was not too surprising; the team finished 34-48 and missed the playoffs. The team had some promising players on the perimeter, however, there was little help inside, which kept Philadelphia from sticking with the better opponents in the league.

This is where Bynum could have seriously helped on both ends of the court. The good news is that the team has another chance to re-sign him.

As a free agent this year, the center will have an opportunity to go to any team in the league. Unfortunately for him, his stock is as low as ever after missing the whole year.

NBA analyst Shaun Powell even quoted a general manager who said Bynum will have to settle for a short-term contract this summer:

In reality, this might not be the worst thing for the big man. He can use this season to prove he is healthy and once again one of the better centers in the game. After that, he can look to get a long-term maximum contract in the summer of 2014.

With this in mind, it would be a great decision for both Bynum and the 76ers to come together for a one-year deal. 

Philadelphia has a number of talented players between Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young. The squad could easily be a playoff contender with a legitimate big man to provide some balance.

In his last season with the Lakers, Bynum averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds with 1.9 blocks. He had an impressive 37 double-doubles in 60 games, and he produced all of these while being the second and sometimes third option on the team. 

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

He would be a huge upgrade over Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen and he could pair with Holiday to create one of the best inside-outside tandems in the NBA.

Additionally, Holiday even admitted that Bynum was a good teammate throughout the year in an interview with Raul Barrigon of Hoops Hype. The point guard stated:

He's an awesome teammate even though he didn't get the chance to play. He showed me a lot of perspective from the big men aspect of the game. I do think he's one of the best big men in the league and having him on the bench and in the locker room helped me to improve my game.

I think during the year when he was with us, he was there for us. He was there every day, he was rehabbing, working on his knee, came in on time... Every time I saw him he was working hard, it wasn't like he didn't want to play, he always wanted to play and you could see that.

The only thing missing is actual production. This ultimately depends on his health, but he should get a new contract if he is cleared by doctors. If he ends up spending more time on the bench, you can give up after the one year.

Philadelphia gave up a lot to acquire Bynum, and the organization should make sure the trade was not pointless. The squad should try to re-sign him to provide itself with the boost it was looking for at the beginning of the 2012-13 season.

If things go right, this could be one of the better young teams in the Eastern Conference with a core that could allow it to compete for a number of years. If not, well, things could not be too much worse than they were this year. 

 

Rob Goldberg is a member of Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team. Follow him on Twitter for the latest updates.

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