March 4, 2013
Welcome to the Sixers nightmare.
Their worst-case scenario was to trade Andre Iguodala and other young players and get nothing from Andrew Bynum because his nagging knee injuries flared up. Now that's exactly where we are.
Andrew Bynum admitted Friday that he had some swelling after recent practice, reports Dei Lynam and John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com. He has stopped all basketball activities and is using ice and rehabilitation to get the swelling down.
Bynum confirmed swelling in his right knee. Doesn't want to play in pain. This season running short on time. good health more important— Dei Lynam (@dlynamCSN) March 01, 2013
Bynum said "I really don't know" when asked if he'll play this year. Knee is swollen from last Friday's practice #Sixerstalk— John Gonzalez (@gonzoCSN) March 01, 2013
When asked if he's worried about perception that he doesn't want to play in pain, Bynum said "that's true, I don't want to play in pain"— John Gonzalez (@gonzoCSN) March 01, 2013
Bynum admitted hard to feel a part of team when you haven't played all season. He is frustrated. #SixersTalk— Dei Lynam (@dlynamCSN) March 01, 2013
Here is where it really gets complicated for the Sixers - Andrew Bynum is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Philly can't just let him go for nothing - they risked everything and went all-in to get him. If Philly doesn't, some other team is going to look at his 2012 All-Star season in Los Angeles and give him a max offer or something close to it (before you laugh, Kris Humphries got $12 million a year last summer). You can count on it.
The question becomes how many years and what kind of safeguards will there be if he doesn't play again, or plays on a very limited basis.
He doesn't want to play in pain, but looking at the state of his knees will he ever be able to play without pain? I'm not going to fault him for not wanting to risk his knees for the short term of a lost Sixers season. If he wants to wait until he is 100 percent, so be it. But if he is going to come back, is his commitment to basketball great enough to overcome everything? I'm not sure - Bynum likes the adulation and money, but love of the game is still up in the air. And even if I am wrong about the amount, Bynum is going to get paid a lot of money next year one way or another.
This is not the kind of thing you bounce back from unless you want to be on the court that badly. Say what you will about Greg Oden's knees and what he may be able to do, the guy is set for life financially but is fighting to get back on the court because he wants that badly play again. Can you see Bynum doing that? Because he may have to.