General Managers have a responsibility to make roster moves that will improve the team. These moves often come in the form of draft picks, free agent signings, or trading for other players. Sometimes these moves work out for the better and improve the team in a number of ways; however, roster transactions also have the potential to be major busts. For a General Manager to make a move, he must sit down and think of all the possibilities that could take place if in fact a move is made.
Former Sixers’ GM Tony DiLeo was faced with this decision last offseason when he had a four team trade proposal from the Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Lakers. The trade would net the Sixers a dominant young center to build around, but would come at the cost of trading an All-Star and a promising young rookie. After days of negotiation, DiLeo pulled the trigger on the deal for the Sixers. The deal would bring All-Star center Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson to the Sixers in exchange for Andre Iguodala and rookie Maurice Harkless. Unfortunately, the move would not turn out the way Sixers’ management and the fans had hoped.
Due to his chronic knee problems, Andrew Bynum would never suit up or step foot on the court for the Philadelphia 76ers. The twenty-five year old center received the Kobe Bryant treatment on his knees that summer overseas in Germany to prepare for the upcoming season. Team officials announced that Bynum would miss the preseason and most likely the very beginning of the regular season.
What happened next would go down as one of the strangest injuries in sports. While continuing his rehab, Bynum decided to go bowling and injured himself as he reared back to roll the ball down the lane. This injury, originally thought to be minor, turned into season ending knee surgery and broken dreams of Sixers’ fans everywhere. To make matters worse, team officials and doctors kept saying Bynum would play at some point during the year. First it was around Christmas, then the All-Star Break, then March, and then poof, just like that Bynum’s season was over before it even started. The news of Bynum’s season ending surgery effectively ended his career with the Sixers.
Teams around the league are always willing to take a chance on a young player despite the injury concerns if he can help the team in some capacity. These moves are known as low-risk, high reward signings when a team signs a player to a discounted contract laced with incentives. The Cleveland Cavaliers took a flyer on Andrew Bynum this offseason and signed him to a two-year $25 million dollar deal. The deal is only guaranteed $6 million for this year and the second year is team option. Bynum can earn the rest of the money in his contract by staying healthy and playing in a certain amount of games for the team.
If he is healthy, Bynum will surely help this Cavaliers team and would create a dynamic duo with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. CSN Philly reported last week that Bynum is close to practicing with the team, and could be ready to play shortly after the beginning of the season.
Tonight when the Sixers take on the Cavaliers for a preseason game, Bynum will remain on the sideline where he spent his entire 2012-2013 season. The current Sixers team will now have the chance to see what we fans witnessed all of last year for themselves: Andrew Bynum in a suit and tie at the end of the bench.
Teams will make good trades and bad trades every year. It is all a part of the business in the NBA, and unfortunately, the Sixers were on the wrong end of the business deal last year. One thing is for sure though, if Andrew Bynum is healthy in the regular season and finally plays in a game at the Wells Fargo Center, he is guaranteed to receive a typical Philadelphia serenade of boos during the introductions.