Since being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the four team trade that brought Dwight Howard to the Lakers, Andrew Bynum has spent his basketball career rehabbing and watching from the bench. He also took the time to let his hair grow, literally. Now the 76ers organization has to decide if they want to keep Bynum or allow him to stay on the free agent market. Should the Dallas Mavericks go after him?
You have to first accept the fact that there are two different Andrew Bynums. There is the Andrew Bynum that in 2011-12 NBA season made his first All-Star team and averaged a career high 18.7 points per game with 11.8 boards. He, along with Pau Gasol, made up the best “twin towers” since David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Everyone debated if Bynum was better than Dwight Howard, and the Lakers thought the latter.
Although Bynum was the with the Lakers his entire career since being drafted in 2005 and helping them win two championships, they decided that trying out Dwight Howard would be better than dealing with the other Andrew Bynum. The one will take a 3-point shot whenever he fells like it. The one that takes off his jersey in disgust on the court after being ejected in American Airlines Center as the Mavericks swept the Lakers in 2011. The same one that became a locker room distraction with a questionable work ethic. Many still believe that he does not like to play basketball at all. He was simply put in that role because he is 7 feet tall and 300lbs.
There is no doubt that his medical issues have dropped his free agent stock a few notches. Julius “Dr. J” Erving, a strategic adviser to the 76ers’ ownership group, does not want to see Bynum back in Philly. His quote, “It’s going to be costly if the Bynum situation is one of total uncertainty for another year. I don’t think the organization should stand for that and I don’t think the fans are going to stand for it.”
The Mavericks have taken chances on centers with medical issues in the past. A big gamble that paid off with NBA Championship via Tyson Chandler.He came to the Mavs hoping to prove to the NBA that he could play an entire season injury free. Bynum may not be the defensive presence that Chandler was, but he is big enough to clog up the lane and is going to give you a double-double every night.
Unlike Dwight Howard, he does not need 25 touches a night to be happy. He has spent enough years playing with Kobe Bryant to understand that franchise players, like Dirk Nowitzki, get first dibs. Admittedly, he has not had the best track record dealing with strong willed players like Dirk Nowizki inside the locker room.
As far as his attitude towards the game of basketball, Rick Carlisle has dealt with similar type of players in his career. He has coached Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, and even Delonte West; players that many franchises have felt would destroy a team’s locker room.
Of all the possible free agents this offseason, Andrew Bynum is the riskiest proposition and the hardest sell to the fan base. Tyson Chandler was lighting in a bottle, and lighting normally doesn’t strike twice.
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