Bynum Busts Out

The star of “Space Jam” is tanned, rested and ready!

I have a long post I’m working on in observance of the ten year anniversary of the Iraq War and it’s not finished yet,  but I wanted to briefly follow up on  Mr. Andrew Bynum, the Greatest Center Never to Play for the Philadelphia 76ers following the news he will undergo season-ending surgery on is chronically crappy knees.

Philadelphia now has to decide if it will offer the former All-Star center any kind of long-term deal without him ever playing a second for the franchise.

Bynum’s season is officially over, and he’s set for season-ending arthroscopic surgery on both knees Tuesday. He has not played this season because of bone bruises in both of his knees. The 25-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and may never play a game for the Sixers.

Bynum last talked to the media on March 1 and said he would not play in pain or be pressured into playing and risking a potential nine-figure payday.

“I think being healthy is more important than everything else,” Bynum said. “If I am healthy, I’ll get a deal. I have to be able to play and I need to get to the point with my body where I’m able to play, however long that takes.”

“Huh?”

The Sixers can offer Bynum more years and more money than any other team.

They would be damn fools to do so.  Which means they probably will.

I do not care that Andrew Bynum‘s season is over.  What season?  This stiff never played a single solidarity second as a Philadelphia 76er.    I visited the official website of Andrew Bynum at andrewbynum.com.  The site is a big piece of crap like the lazy bastard its named for.  Want to read Andrew’s blog?  “There are currently no blog entries.  Check back soon.”   Yeah, I’ll be sure to do that.  Want to get up to date on Andrew Bynum news?  The last entry is dated December 11,, 2011.   Under the category of “Gameday” there’s a drop-down menu including “Breakfast With Bynum.”  Oh boy!  That sounds exciting.

There are no entries under “Breakfast With Bynum.”  But they are coming soon!

There are  a few small pics of Bynum rocking the gear of his ex-team, the Los Angeles Lakers.   There isn’t a single picture of Bynum in his Sixers colors, which makes sense considering he never played for the Sixers and possibly never will.

Here is a list of NBA 2013-14 free agents.   Find a center and pick one.   Anyone you choose—ANYONE–would be a better player for the 76ers than Andrew Bynum.

I would rather see  J.J. Hickson, Chris Kaman, Tiago Splitter or Al Jefferson rocking the Sixers colors than Andrew Bynum.

I would rather see former Sixers Samuel Dalembert, Marreese Speights, or Elton Brand COME BACK rocking the Sixers colors than Andrew Bynum.

I would rather see Zaza Pachulla, Johan Petro, Andray Blatche, or Ryan Hollins rocking the Sixers colors than Andrew Bynum.

“Hi, I’m Primoz. I got mad skills.”

I would rather see Isaac Austin, Primoz Brezec, Calvin Booth, Zendon Hamilton,  Manute Bol, Sharone Wright or Tony Massenburg rocking the Sixers colors than Andrew Bynum.

I would rather see Mark McNamara, Jeff Ruland, Todd McCullough, Matt Geiger, Efthimios Rentzias, Christian Welp  or Shawn Freakin’ Bradley rocking the Sixers colors than Andrew Bynum.

I would rather see Dwight How….naaaaaaah….can’t do it.

I do not care where Andrew Bynum plays.  He can play in the NBA, the WNBA, the NCAA or NASCAR.  Who cares?

Just don’t pay this zombie a max contract to turn in a performance worthy of Ron Jeremy.

Cut your losses.  Turn the page.  Lose his phone number.   Let someone else play the fool.   Let somebody else be the sucker that gives this occasionally brilliant, but mostly lazy, unmotivated, disinterested, $16 million dollar slacker to loaf, groan he’s in pain and cash his monstrous paychecks.

Do the Sixers need a reminder what the definition of insanity is?    They tried to make a big move and it blew up in their faces.    The Bynum experiment was a complete and total failure.    Thankfully, they had insurance to cover their losses with Bynum, but having avoided a crippling financial blow, do they now want to turn around and stand on the firing line again with this dude?

Goodbye and good riddance Andrew Bynum.  Now the trade of Moses Malone is only the second-worst trade in 76ers history.

“Sure, I suck. But I don’t suck as much as Andy Bynum.”

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Andrew Bynum: I’m Robbing You Without A Gun and My Hair Looks Fabulous

The Jackson 5 called and they want their hairstyle back.

I’m not much of a NBA fan and not even much of a Philadelphia 76ers fan.   Some of my favorite players won Sixers uniforms.   Moses Malone.  Charles Barkley.  Maurice Cheeks.  Allen Iverson.  Julius Erving.   There isn’t anyone on the 2012-13 edition of the Sixers remotely approaching those guys.     The NBA is full of teams with dummies in the front office, coaches whom  haven’t won a thing yet are on huge ego-trips, poorly put together rosters, overpaid players loafing through the grind of the season  and it all cascades into a waterfall of failure.    This year’s 76ers accomplished all of that by making one wrong move.

That was supposed to change this season.   Having made some progress in the playoffs last year the Sixers got the idea they were only one player away from really making some noise and possibly challenging the mighty Miami Heat for Eastern Conference supremacy.   So they let Lou Williams, their leading scorer, leave as a free agent.   They used the amnesty clause to cut starting power forward Elton Brand loose.  Finally, they traded their best defensive player, Andre Iguodala as part of a three-team deal that brought the last piece of the puzzle to Philly, a legitimate 7-footer in the middle, Andrew Bynum.

And they lived miserably ever after.    It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  Sometimes you try to go big and make a big deal only to have  it go as horribly wrong  as possible.   That’s what happened to the Sixers.

Bynum hasn’t played a second for the Sixers due to his lingering knee issues and it looks like he never will.    The Sixers have the fifth-highest payroll in the NBA and over $32 million of it is tied up between two guys, Bynum and Brand, that haven’t played one second for them.   That goes beyond simple bad luck to bungling on a grand scale.    Having paid Bynum $16 million to do nothing but re-injure the knee he was supposed to be rehabbing while  bowling and to show off his hairstyles, the 76ers now find themselves in the awkward position of probably overpaying to keep him for next  season.

The person who will likely be blamed for this debacle is head coach Doug Collins.   Not a bad guy or a bad coach, but part of a “brain trust” that brought Bynum in, shipped a lot of players out, and all they have to show for it is a 23-38 record, losing 11 of their last 20 games, no playoffs and a nice seat at the NBA Draft Lottery.     This isn’t all Collins’ fault, but a lot of it is.   He wanted Bynum in the worst way and that’s exactly how he got him.

It’s sad to think there isn’t a coach in the NBA who could win with this team, but let’s face it when Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown are getting major minutes in your frontcourt you are doomed.  Collins envisioned a Hawes/Bynum duo with Hawes playing the Pau Gasol role,  a skill set Hawes has never shown he has.  They would have been better served trading for Pau Gasol.

Barring a signed (not a sure thing) and a healthy (even less of a sure thing) Bynum, odds are the Sixers aren’t going to be any better next year even with a high draft pick because  Collins hates  giving minutes to young players.   Too bad because the Sixers need to ship out much of the scrap and spare parts that clog up the roster now.

The Sixers should bring back Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen and Arnett Moultrie.   With the exception of Holliday, none of them are All-Star material, but they could form the nucleus of a team that might one day be competitive if it decided to build its own talent through the draft rather than look for quick fixes that aren’t like Bynum.   I left off first round pick Evan Turner because while he may not be a bust,  he is beginning to look like he’ll never be a star either.    It’s  hard to since Turner is  trying to show what he can do without much help from the coach and a roster starved  of talent.

Either way, the Sixers have been bad enough to justify firing Collins and there’s got to be someone that can build something resembling a competitive team. Toward that end with   games left the talk is starting would it be better for the team if they started losing more in order to improve theirNBA draft lottery chances?

Collins would sooner commit ritual suicide than deliberately tank games to do…well, to do what exactly?  Add a few more ping-pong balls in the hopper?

“Stressed out? Do I LOOK stressed out?”

At some point you would think someone in the front office would go to D.C. and say, “Doug, we love ya man, but you gotta get over your infatuation for creaky old vets who can’t play anymore and ‘talents’ who really aren’t.   You’ve got to get younger, you’ve got to follow the formula of the Oklahoma City Thunder where you draft and nurture your own talent.   If you absolutely must make a deal for a veteran to fill a perceived need, don’t overreach to the point it sets you back instead of moving you forward.

LeBron James summed up The Sixers season in 20 words:  “Holiday is a great player, but he needs help,‘’ James said. “We all thought Bynum would be a huge piece for them.”   So did the Sixers.

This is the guy the Sixers wanted..

Another year of The Andrew Bynum Show starring his bad knees and fabulous hair styles would be reason enough to sue to have the 76ers broken up for rank incompetence and gross stupidity.

No way can you give this guy a max-deal contract.   It would be like giving a flame thrower to a pyromaniac.   You offer him a short three years and if he doesn’t like it, let him walk and Houston  or some other sucker can overpay him.

Remember the words of the former teammate who said of Bynum  “I’ve never met another player in the league who likes basketball less.”  Is that a guy it sounds like you want to build around?

We’ve seen ample evidence Bynum has no heart for the game, no loyalty to his teammates and whenever an opportunity arises to look immature and selfish he takes it.     The temptation is to write this season off as a lost cause, back up the Brink’s truck, shower Bynum with guaranteed millions and hope like hell he plays hard.

DON’T DO IT!

This is the one they got.

Is Iverson The Answer to the Sixers’ Problems?

Back in black?

After Allen Iverson’s dalliance with the Memphis Grizzlies flamed out (I had the under at a dozen games.  He lasted three),   the 34-year-old baller found himself back on the streets looking for work.   Same as before over the summer when Iverson was a free agent following a very short and unhappy season on the bench of the Detroit Pistons,  he found his phone wasn’t ringing.   The problem then and now is even with as much talent-starved teams as there are in the NBA, they aren’t lining up to hire a ball-hogging, shoot-first 6-footer who can be poison when he’s pissed out and refuses to consider any role where he  isn’t a starter.

So when Iverson announced he was retiring after the Grizzlies cut him loose, the general consensus was pretty much, “Yeah, sure thing, A.I.”    Nobody bought it.  Every general manager from Boston to Sacramento knew Iverson wasn’t hanging it up as much as he was hanging out the “have headband will travel” sign to any team willing to take on his $3 million salary and hand over the keys of the franchise  to an unquestionably talented basketball player, but also one of the most unrepentant gunners ever to step on the court.   Iverson’s unwillingness or incapability to change his game made him toxic and untouchable.

 In 2006, the Philadelphia 76ers, the team that originally drafted him and where he played for 10 seasons, shipped A.I. out to the Denver Nuggets for what exactly nobody remembers anymore.   Iverson’s selfishness had worn out Maurice Cheeks, whom he had claimed was his a dream coach, and was retarding the progress of the Sixers’ younger players.   It was like a beautiful marriage that had gone sour.  Iverson wanted out and the Sixers couldn’t wait  for him to be gone.  

So what  happened?  Nothing much really.  Iverson couldn’t help Carmelo Anthony bring a championship to Denver and though the Sixers have made it to the NBA playoffs, they’ve only been first-round roadkill for the better Eastern Conference teams.  

Don't call it a comeback.

The Sixers have started this year’s interminable NBA season at a lousy 5-11 record as they are an uninspired blend of players too green (Louis Williams, Jrue Holliday, Mareese Speights,Thaddeus Young),  too middle-of-the-road (Andre Iguodala), all wrong for a system they don’t fit in ($80 million man Elton Brand) or just have no game (Samuel Dalembert).  Williams was plugged in at point guard this year, handed the ball by new coach Eddie Jordan and told, “Make with the magic, kid” and pushed out on the floor.  He hasn’t been great, but he’s been the MVP of a team that in the City of Brotherly Love isn’t getting much of it as the Sixers  rank 29th in attendance.

The other day the 6’1″, 175 lbs Williams had a close encounter with Antwan Jamison, the 6’9″, 235 lbs power forward of the Wizards and came out on the losing end with a broken jaw and looking at eight weeks of eating his meals through a straw.   The Sixers, who only have a rookie and a journeyman backup to turn immediately put out the “help wanted” sign in search of some veteran to step in before the whole season ended up in broken pieces like the teeth Willams was spitting out.

Well, hello there Mr. Iverson.  Cue up “Starting All Over Again,” if you please.

I was a  76ers fan when the likes of Dr. J. and Moses Malone were balling for the team and then when Sir Charles Barkley was moving his big mass up and down the floor of The Spectrum.    The Sixers haven’t done much right since . They traded away their best players and tried to build around Great White Dopes like Shawn Bradley.   That might have been when I jumped ship on the Sixers.  Bradley, a 7-foot 6-inch stringbean was paid millions by the Sixers, Nets and Mavericks to stand under the basket and end up getting facializied as players half his size lined up to  throw down some of the nastiest dunks in NBA history right in his grill.  

Shawn Bradley in a typical postion: getting served.

  Drafting Iverson in 1996 was the last time I felt any interest  in the Sixers.   Aided immensely by Larry Brown’s coaching, Iverson dragged the team into the 2000-01 Finals against Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’ Neal’s vastly more talented L.A. Lakers, where they stole one game from the inevitable champs before succumbing four games to one. 

All of the usual A.I. red flags are flying high; he’s a selfish ball hog, an indifferent distributor and passive defender and when he’s unhappy, everybody in the world knows it because Iverson is not the type to suffer in silence.  

But really, what can he hurt for a dogshit team that’s watching the season circling the drain?   The Sixers are already boring and nearly hopeless.   With A.I. back in town, at least they won’t be boring.   He’s still one of the fastest guys in the league and Jordan wants the Sixers to get out and run, run, run.   Brand and Dalembert are two mismatched parts in Jordan’s system as Brand is a plodder and Dalembert virtually useless though he’s paid like a superstar. 

I’m not one of those purists who get bent out of Iverson’s shoot first, shoot last and shoot always approach to basketball.   In David Stern’s NBA great teams have given away to great individual play and even a diminshed Iverson is a great individual player.  If he doesn’t embrace the team concept it’s because A.I. trusts in his own talent than that of anyone else.

It doesn’t take a Herculean effort to make the playoffs in the NBA.   Not when there are at least a dozen other teams who are even more horrid than the Sixers such as the New Jersey Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves who between them have played over 30 games and won only one. 

There’s a lot of good reasons not to bring A.I. back to Philly but the undeniable fact is the Sixers aren’t going anywhere without him.   They might be at least watchable with him because even now with Iverson’s all-out, sweat blood approach to the game, he’s entertaining and an attraction for a team that doesn’t give fans much reason to cough up $3500 for a top-tier ticket package. 

An Iverson return trip to the land of cheesesteaks holds both risks and rewards for the Sixers, but really, what do they have to lose.  It’s not as if they were raising any sand without him.   If I were living in Philadelphia, would I go see this team?   No.  I would not.  If  Iverson were wearing a  76ers  uniform would I reconsider.   Yes, I would.  

Before he became just another NBA nomad drifting from team-to-team, Iverson’s nickname was “The Answer.”   A second go-round with the Sixers could be disastrous or just what this team without an identity needs.   Without pulling off a major trade or dumping Brand or Dalembert’s insane contracts, this team is going nowhere but the draft lottery.  With Iverson, there’s at least a chance of sneaking into the playoffs as a seventh seed.   If that turns out to be the case, A.I. might have to start calling himself “The Solution.” 

The once, the former, The Answer?

Still The Answer?