As you know by now, multiple NBA sources are stating that (Story was broken by AW over at Yahoo Sports) a four team deal has been struck in which the Lakers will receive Dwight Howard, the Denver Nuggets will acquire Andre Iguodala, the 7-6 will receive Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Magic will get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington and Nikola Vucevic.
Reports are also saying that the Lakers will acquire Earl Clark and Chris Duhon. Additionally, the Magic will be getting other pieces, including Sixers 2012 No. 1 draft pick Mo Harkless as well as lottery protected draft picks from the Nuggets (2014), 76ers (2015) and Lakers (2017).
Needless to say this is a huge and polarizing move for Philadunkia nation. Those who hated Dre, his mega-dollar contract and the fact that he never became a superstar in a Sixers uniform are rejoicing today. The Dre supporters who hold that he was coming of his best overall season and that he is / was completely under-appreciated in this city are left shaking their heads.
After the jump, the Philadunkia scribes present their analysis of this blockbuster trade…
There are no words. There are no sentences. There are no passages that I can write which will state a coherent thought that can explain how I’m feeling. The Sixers just traded away All-Star forward Andre Iguodala, rookie Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, and a first round pick for arguably the best big man in the game today in Andrew Bynum.
I’m sorry…I have to write this again…The Sixers just traded away Andre Iguodala, a guy I have been pleading with the Sixers front office to trade for three years now, and in return the Sixers have gained the greatest big man the organization has had on its roster since Moses Malone. Needless to say, this is the most excited I’ve been to be a Sixers fan since Vince Carter launched a brick in Game 7 back in 2001. Yes I was in the building, and yes it was at the pinnacle of Allen Iverson’s career.
Bynum is one of, if not the most, offensively gifted big men in the NBA as well as premier defender and rebounder. What many people question about Bynum is his maturity. They believe that Bynum is a teenager in a 7 foot, 285 pound body who does what he wants on the court and won’t listen to anybody. I don’t believe that statement. I got to interview the man face-to-face a few years ago. It was a season after the Lakers had lost in the NBA finals to the Boston Celtics, and Andrew Bynum had to miss the majority of the season with a serious knee injury. Instead of dwelling on the past, Bynum was ready to prove his critics wrong. He was ready to make the jump into super-stardom, and he didn’t care who stepped in his way. He told me how the injury affected him as a player at the time. “To rehab and get back, you know it was tough because you have to sit out really,” said Bynum. “The stuff I was doing to rehab wasn’t that difficult, but at the same time you’d have to sit there and watch your team play every night and that part of it was very difficult.”
Many people I’ve talked to have called Bynum “selfish” but that statement he told to me that night tells it all. He’s not a basketball player who will just sit on the bench and collect a paycheck. Andrew Bynum is out there to help his “team” win at all costs. He’s a competitor who has vastly improved since he entered the league in 2005. Last season with the Lakers he averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game (both career highs) while making his first NBA All-Star team. In his final season before free-agency don’t expect the man to keel over and die. He is going to play at a high level, and I believe coach Doug Collins will push him to be an even better player than he is already. It’s been a long time since the Sixers could be considered a force in the East. Well Sixers fans, enjoy this season and hope that the front office can throw enough money at Bynum that he’ll remain a Sixer for the long-term. The Sixers are young, the Sixers are talented, and the Sixers are ready to take the league by storm.
Though he didn’t come cheap — Andre Iguodala is the most underrated player of his generation; Nik Vucevic is possibly the most underrated Montenegrin —and the move is booby-trapped with more risk than a 2006 mortgage backed security (the former-Laker is an uber-injury prone megalomaniac with a hot temper, an insubordinate streak, and, as far as anyone can tell, no inclination to stay in Philly beyond 2013) in landing Andrew Bynum, the 76ers acquired the rarest of NBA creatures: a true center.
And did I mention he’s 25? I didn’t? That’s probably because he’s 24. I’m ecstatic. The odds of the Sixers signing someone of Bynum’s ilk in free agency lay somewhere between “Not going to happen” and “It gets cold in Philadelphia, right? And it’s not in New York City?” so to land an elite player—which Bynum emphatically is—they had to take a risk. (Which given the fact that the first round pick is protected, Moe Harkless is a middling prospect who hasn’t yet logged a single NBA minute, Vucevic lost Collins’ trust down the stretch, and Iguodala, while still tremendous, clearly wasn’t in the Sixers’ long-range plans, doesn’t seem like that much of a risk, does it? At worst, it’s an asymmetric one.) And because the 7-6 now hold Bynum’s Bird Rights and he’s from Jersey (more will be made of this second point than is warranted, but still), locking him down to a multi-year max extension doesn’t seem completely out of the question.
Now noodle on this situation for a minute: hold it in your head, poke it a little, consider its implications; what we gave up, what we got, what it means now and down the road. Then remember this: last off-season, people were clamoring for the Sixers to trade Iguodala for Monta Ellis. Straight up.
I don’t know how this move will be remembered five or ten or fifteen years from now. No one does. I do know this: I haven’t been this excited about the 76ers since they acquired Elton Brand. And look how that turned out.
Much like my colleagues I understand and love this deal from a basketball and cap space standpoint. So believe me I am excited to see what kind of numbers Bynum can put up when he is the “focus” of the Sixers offense and cleaning the glass like a beast. However when I go a little deeper into the Sixers franchise, this move also raises concerns for me that have rattled my nerves some. The first concern is that we are pinning the Sixers hopes in 2012-13 (and if they resign Bynum our long term future) on a very talented 24-year old who is injury prone and owns a knucklehead streak a mile wide (Sorry Jeff). Bynum showed Kobe and Phil Jackson no respect in LA and had some off-the-court issues as well. I’m not sure how wise of a move it is for this young and now leaderless (from a player standpoint) franchise to bring in a player with Bynum’s attitude and baggage.
The second thing that makes me nervous is that with all of these cap space creating moves the 7-6 have quickly become the New York Knicks leading up to the Lebron sweepstakes. If we decide not to / can not resign Bynum we will have a ton of cap space and the Sixers front office will then go out in summer 2013 and try to recruit the top FA’s available to come here to Philly. That plan did not work out so well for the NYK a couple years back and now they are stuck in mediocrity. Obviously the Sixers front office seems to have a clue, which you could argue the Knicks brass did/does not, so odds are we will fair better then the Knicks did a couple summers ago. Still this “long range” plan is a big, big gamble which gives me an awful feeling in my stomach.
The next reason this move has me sitting uneasy is that it makes me question who is actually in charge of the Sixers player personnel moves. With Rod Thorn in lame-duck status, we had all assumed that Doug Collins was calling the shots. However this appears to be a very un-Doug-like move. Collins loves veterans who play hard on defense and follow his game plan to the letter. Dre has done this now for two years better then anyone. So with this move the Sixers just shipped out Doug’s “golden boy” for a 24-year old kid who is prone to defensive lapses and moments of insubordination. Thus, it makes me think that Doug is not calling the shots as we had all assumed and it makes me worry that Adam Aron and Josh Harris (two guys with no basketball front office experience) are making the basketball decisions for the Sixers.
Lastly, when you combine the Sixers 2012 Draft night trade in which they gave up a lottery protected first-round pick in 2013 for Arnett Moultrie with the inclusion of “Big Nik” (2011 first round pick), Mo Harkless (2012 first-round pick) and a protected 2015 first-round draft pick in this deal, the Sixers will essentially have gone with out a high first-round pick from 2011 to 2013 and then again in 2015. I know the Sixers are plenty young right now and may not need more “college kids” on the roster, but that type of draft streak is almost unheard of in the NBA and in my opinion should raise some red flags.