I think we all remember where we were when the Bynum deal went down. And unlike the seven stages of grief, that trade had an opposite set of emotions.
1. Skepticism: Interesting rumor, but I'll believe it when I see it.
2. Excitement: The Best Big Man in the Western Conference is coming to Philly!
3. Ecstasy: And we only gave up Iggy and Harkless!
4. "But" Moment: But he can opt out and say Sayonara to Philly forever after just one year.
6. Second-guessing: He was always immature and injury prone in L.A., and ironically I've said before that he was the most overrated player in the NBA.
7. Worry: Knee issues already marring Bynum's debut. Welcome to the Andrew Bynum era!
So yeah, Bynum could play out in a number of different ways, but the trade for him is a home run, almost regardless of how it turns out.
The reason why? Dwight Howard, and Howard alone.
Iggy's contract is the key here. Even at the time, the Andre Iguodala $14/million per year mega-reach contract was desperate. But in context, Iverson was gone. Webber was gone. The team won 22 of 29 down the stretch to make the playoffs. Took Detroit to six games. The team needed a centerpiece. And if it took $14/mill per to do it, so be it.
Fast forward: Summer 2012.
Sixers coming off of their best season in nine years. Andre Iguodala is a big part of it, but is hardly the centerpiece of the team. On top of that, he's selected to play on Team USA at the Olympics.
Buy Low, Sell High: Andre Iguodala's contract was unmovable, but his value would never again be this high.
Still, it would be a salary dump at best. In normal circumstances, the Sixers would expect a young player or two, some draft picks and maybe a veteran role player.
But we live in Bizarro-NBA-world, where Dwight Howard and other NBA superstars move the chess pieces. Completely unable to stand ten more minutes with Howard, Orlando has to force a trade. With no bargaining leverage, they agree to a terrible one. And three teams get better. L.A. gladly upgrades from Bynum to Howard. Philly upgrades from Iggy to Bynum. Denver upgrades from Afflalo to Iggy. And Orlando downgrades from Howard to Afflalo.
Only in today's world would that trade ever happen. Let's face it, Philly should never in a million years have gotten equal value for Iguodala, much less an upgrade. When do you ever see a team with an All-Star Center EVER try to upgrade the position?
Bizarro-NBA-world, where the L.A. Lakers prey on the dysfunction of lesser franchises.
Thank you L.A.. Thank you Dwight Howard.
Philly is glad to help.