The Philadelphia 76ers made some serious noise this offseason when they acquired Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers are part of the blockbuster deal that sent Dwight Howard to LA. But after four months and 51 games of the 2012-13 season, the 25-year-old center has yet to suit up for the Sixers. And, frankly, at this point it looks like he may never wear the team’s uniform.
Bynum had offseason knee surgery (again) and it isn’t a sure bet that he will actually be back this season. There are rumors circulating that he will try to practice within the next two weeks, but at this point it’s anyone’s guess what will really happen.
The problem for the 76ers is that Bynum – who is making $16.47 million this year – will be a free agent this offseason. That means Philadelphia may have to decide what to do with him even if he doesn’t step on a court this season.
If you had to grade what Bynum has or hasn’t done to get on the court this year you’d have to give him a clear F. He’s made far more news off the court for his hairstyle than his efforts to finally get back and healthy. And even if he can play at the end of the season, will it really matter if he has to work his way back into game shape?
While Bynum would likely enter the offseason as the third-ranked player on most free agent lists behind Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, there is no way anyone can trust him. If he misses the entire 2012-13 season with a knee problem it could mean he’ll never be back at 100 percent again.
Bynum is a phenomenal talent when he’s healthy, but his knees have been creaky for years now and when a 7-foot, 285-pound guy has leg problems they don’t just simply disappear.
The 76ers are going to have to decide what to do with him now, not at the end of the year. If they really want to try and bring him back next season, there is no real point in rushing him back onto the court. If they’re done with him, there is no real reason to let him come back either except to maybe make a late run at a playoff spot.
People lauded Philadelphia for making a big move by acquiring Bynum this offseason, but it has turned into an utter disaster. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if he never puts on a 76ers uniform.