Posted by: Tim Parker
11/29/12 10:34 am EST

There aren’t too many things that Philadelphia and Memphis share in common.

One city is best known for its historical grandeur, fine restaurants and rabid sports fans, while the other can only boast Elvis and BBQ.  But, Philly and Memphis do share one very unique thing in common.  The City of Brotherly Love and the Barbecue Pork Capital of the World have both had its professional basketball teams’ bamboozled by Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak in deals that allowed the Lakers to acquire two of the most dominant big men in the NBA – Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard.

Yes, long before Kupchak alienated not one, but two coaches in Lakerland (including arguably the best coach in professional basketball history), he suckered our beloved Sixers franchise which was starved to leave the world of the irrelevant (that was nestled in a direction of going nowhere fast) to take on Andrew Bynum and his bum knee, scratch that,  two bum knees.

The 76ers were supposed to receive a Bynum with plenty of superstar potential whose knee simply needed some rest.  Once the knee was stable and now that he was out from under the Kobe dominated Lakers; he would ultimately come into his own as a perennial all-star.

At least, that’s what Bynum was supposed to be.

Instead, this what the Bynum era has become:

“He’ll miss the preseason, but be ready for the season’s opening tip.”

“He’ll miss the opener, but will be ready in a couple of weeks”

“He’ll miss most of December, but should be ready by January”

“Andrew Bynum suffers a setback while bowling, may be out to March”

“Andrew Bynum is out indefinitely”

Meanwhile, Kupchak got his coveted prize jewel in Dwight Howard, to go along with his everlasting mock version of Michael Jordan a.k.a. Kobe Bryant, and Gasol, his versatile forward, who he snatched from the gullible Memphis Grizzlies in 2008.

At the time, the biggest piece that Lakers gave up in the Gasol trade was KWAME BROWN!  Yes, the same Kwame Brown that has, like a million-dollar nomad, wandered onto the Sixers’ roster.  Even Aaron Mckie was shipped off to Memphis by the Lakers in the Gasol deal.  Though, the Grizzlies did get the draft rights to Marc Gasol, and yes that worked out pretty well for them, eventually.

Yet, in the case of Kupchak’s trade with Sixers, Bynum has been nothing more than a bench vegetable, whose hair has been more intriguing than the anticipation of his return.  After all, at least his hair is measurable.

The obvious difference between the Bynum acquisition and the Lakers trade for Gasol is that this deal involved multiple teams, and the Sixers did get Jason Richardson, in addition to unloading Andre Iguodala’s contract.

But, the similarity between the two trades is a depressing one for a Philadelphia fan base desperate for something to believe in.  Kupchak rewarded the Lakers’ Hollywood fans with the treasure that he sought after and ultimately delivered, both in ‘08 and this past summer.

In Memphis, the Grizzlies front office can be consoled that now Marc Gasol is now a part of a team that is very competitive in a gigantically tough Western Conference. However, in Philadelphia, Doug Collins, Tony Dileo and company must deal with cruel realization that they may get absolutely nothing out of their prized possession in a trade that was supposed to catapult the franchise to the level of having NBA championship expectations each season.

Now, they are simply left with a very large man with bad suits and an overgrown outdated afro,   taking up space on their roster – and payroll.

Still, there’s something a little bit fishy about Bynum’s entire situation.

Philadelphia has seen its fair share of guys who sat out for extremely extended sessions only to return late in the season. Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson famously was injured for most of the season in 2005, his final days in Philadelphia; yet he miraculously was able to play in the NBA Finals for the Spurs, though it was in fact garbage time.

What’s the point?

Here’s a frightening premonition for the Sixers’ top suits:  

Andrew Bynum returns in April, playing dominant basketball and is everything that fans hoped he would be.  Let’s assume the 7-6 even win a postseason round or 2.  Bynum would have played well and effectively proved his value for maximum value contract; leaving Collins and Dileo in an unenviable position. 

Do the Sixers sign a potential game changing big man with 2 bad knees to a long term deal?  At this point, Bynum would have potentially won the hearts of the Phialdunkia nation.

But remember, the Sixers were victimized, just 4 years ago, in that same fashion, when they signed Elton Brand to long term deal with an extremely high price tag.  It’s highly unlikely that the Sixers would walk that same line once again.

But, a strong playoff run lead by Bynum would make resigning him extremely mouth-watering.

Ultimately, that’s the problem with acquiring damaged goods.  It’s damaged goods that Mitch Kupchak doesn’t have to concern himself with any more. 

Maybe, in the end, that’s why he’s the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, and why the Sixers haven’t won a championship in 30 years.  



  1. Sloetry
    29. November 2012 at 12:11

    Does seem to be a fault in the SIxers organisation….ie. being duped. Brand, Bynum… and was Chris Webber a similar situation? (correct me if I’m wrong about Webber, that’s from memory this side of the pond).

  2. Cotton
    29. November 2012 at 12:20

    I find this article embarrassing as a Sixers fan and like 3 weeks late. We’re all frustrated with the situation, but it’s not like Kupchak duped us, or even Memphis (who might’ve gotten the better end of the deal, in retrospect). The thing that Philly and Memphis have in common is that we’re not going to get superstars through free agency. Ever. So we have to trade and take risks. It’s not like the Lakers kept Bynum’s shitty knees from the world. He’s had issues his entire pro career. But he’s also coming off his most dependable and efficient (albeit shortened) season. We signed Brand to a massive contract the year after he played EIGHT games due to an injury theoretically more severe than Bynum. Bynum is younger, better, and more dominant than Brand was when we signed him.

    Call Kupchak an evil mastermind all you want, it’s OUR organization that traded for Bynum knowing he was coming off of a “procedure” (and probably a lot more than that if they have any due diligence). It’s also our organization that flat-out lied to us repeatedly about his condition. Whether it was to sell season tickets or they were just trying to be optimistic doesn’t matter. They gave us incomplete or untrue information for months.

    I get the frustration we’re due for, but it’s still a trade I’d make in a second. Although I’m not happy with how it’s going so far, I still respect the ownership for rolling the dice on creating a championship-caliber team. I just hate the way they’ve disclosed his injuries.

    It’s impossible to be a Philly sports fan and not be perceived as a frothing-at-the-mouth psycho who is quick to overreact and turn on our guys. But articles like this make it even harder. I know you guys have to write content, but anyone coming to this site is already sick of reading the same angry screed about Bynum. We’re not gonna have any new info on Bynum for awhile, so this is just fanning flames. There’s plenty of other topics you can write about. The disappearance of Dorell Wright, perhaps. Or how Wayns has surpassed Ivey as the backup PG. Turner’s emergence as a 3-pt shooter (from the corners, anyway). Jrue’s explosion and whether it will hold up. (or how he is an underrated defender). I don’t care of it’s positive or negative, so long as you’re working with new info or new insight.

  3. freezer
    29. November 2012 at 12:59

    Its still a good trade, I dont think the team misses iggy at all. Iggys def a better player then jrich but id rather have jrich on this team going forward because of his shooting and the playing time it opened up for turner. I think in retrospect we gave up prob one more piece then we should of which isnt damning. Fact is Bynums an expiring contract which has value in itself and you see deals in this league all the time where teams trade good players for cap space. what worries me is the next deal he signs, hopefully we get him at a discount but i doubt it. But i still say resign him for the same reason i think we have to keep vick on the eagles, theyre the only chance those clubs have to be relevant in the next five years.

  4. Slappy
    29. November 2012 at 14:01

    Brand and Bynum = Apples and bruised oranges. I liked Elton a lot, and don’t hold against him the fact that the Sixers overpaid. He was a team leader and always gave maximum effort. However, Bynum’s potential upside blows Brand out of the water. His presence alone is enough to alter a game. If/when we see that presence has yet to be determined. Despite the rumors, the Sixers knew it was a risky acquisition. However, I’m confident it will pay off eventually. Hell, getting JRich is rewarding in itself. At least we don’t have to watch Iggy drive to the hoop and clank two free throws.

    Be patient. He will be the big man we all hoped for.

  5. Cotton
    29. November 2012 at 14:38

    actually with Webber I feel like Geoff Petrie totally duped us.

  6. Adam
    29. November 2012 at 19:25

    How did we get ” duped” into webber?

    We didnt give up anything for him and his contract came off the books a year earlier than thomas and williamsons would have

  7. aaiatdb
    29. November 2012 at 21:47

    Sixers ownership were played like rookies in the Bynum trade. Adam Aron was in charge of doing due diligence for the trade and had no idea what he was doing. There was a reason why neither Orlando nor the Lakers wanted Bynum, and they took advantage of rookie wall street owners looking to satisfy their huge egos who were trying to make a big splash to sell tickets. Aron, who’s main responsibility is to sell tickets, did not do a background check and pushed the trade because of its marketing value. Although the trade was contingent on a medical clearance, the threshold for for such clearance is minimal. Then ownership then withheld the true extent of Bynum’s injury so that they could sell season tickets. Now Bynum is out for the year, they have given up 3 first round picks and got nothing for Iguadala. Can no longer build this team through the draft and must rely on getting free agents, even though they have less that $13mm of cap room based on next years guaranteed contracts, and no free agents want to come to Philadelphia. Could be worse than the Jeff Ruland trade, and will set franchise back to mediocrity for the next 5 years.

  8. Steve Toll
    29. November 2012 at 23:50

    When Marc Gasol was traded as part of that deal, he had just turned 23. His older brother, Pau was 28 years and near the peak of his career and one of the 20 best basketball players in the world. Marc was the 2008 Spanish League MVP just as Pau was when he entered the NBA. In the Olympic final, Pau played 28 minutes and Marc played 25 minutes.

    When the trade happened, LA got the best of it. 4 months later to the day albeit For a few minutes on June 8th 2008, Memphis certainly got the best of the deal. The Grizzlies drafted a player who was more celebrated than Anthony Davis coming out of high school and was equally impressive in his lone college season. That player was Kevin Love whose only true crime was being a white kid with a bit of baby fat. For the short time KLove was a member of the Grizzlies, they won that trade.

    As for the 76er trade, Mitch literally had 0 to do with the 76ers involvement. D12 was coming to LAL, that was a given. Orlando was told “We don’t care as long as we get Dwight, if you can ship Bynum somewhere, more power to you but Dwight is coming to LA either this offseason for something or next season for nothing, you pick ”

    If you remove Denver from the trade, Iggy was heading to Orlando and that was the trade.

    Denver swooped in and got Iguodala from ORLANDO, they didn’t get Iggy from Philly

    Orlando set everything up. Kupchak didn’t get the best of Philly, Orlando and Denver did. D12 was going to LA and Bynum was leaving to go somewhere, it was Orlando that facilitated everything, Kupchak has 0 to do with Bynum ending up in Philly.
    And to add insult, Orlando shipped an aging 2 guard with a 3 year deal to a team preaching “Youth Movement”

    To sum it up, Kupchak got a win now player for a win now situation for a win later player along with cap flexibility in a win later situation in the Gasol deal. In the D12 deal, Bynum was traded for a superior player because Orlando wanted to get something instead of nothing and he had literally nothing to do with the 76ers acquisition of Bynum

  9. Sloetry
    30. November 2012 at 05:12

    My comment about Webber could easily be misinformed as I’m a Sixers fan in the UK, and at that time I had no coverage of Sixers games, so I’m happy to be corrected. I simply wondered, if not duped by any of these, is there perhaps an issue with health assessments in the organisation

  10. Alex Brandão
    30. November 2012 at 06:02

    Ok guys, I see the cenario of how everything happened and it is actually a very intriguing history. But honestly, what other options the franchise had that would make any significant impact? How about next year, where I see 3 options – Bynum staying, Bynum leaving or Bynum signing and being traded – what would be our chances of becoming relevant? PS: I liked Iguodala, not loved him, and, like so many here say, he left and the team has not lost anything, in my opinion. Besides Lavoy (playing worse than last year), DWright (he is being benched for Nick Young?! Damn…) and Swaggy (bad decision making is an understatement, but maybe he will improve that a bit), the other players seem to be doing better and the team is working ok, but not great. I’ll support him, but also it was time to move on for both of them.

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