You've Got Sixers Email Vol. 3: Andrew Bynum's Flamenco Dancing

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Despite never playing a game and being a free agent, Andrew Bynum is still the key to the Sixers' future. Should they keep him? And if not, what then?

Sean O'Connor

It seems as if Andrew Bynum is at least healthy enough to travel in the post, after seeing him get his Flamenco on. So I have two questions:

1.) Where does the dance rank among things that have happened in the Andrew Bynum saga?

2.) Do you agree with Levin's assessment that the Sixers should bring Bynum back, even after all this?

Michael Levin

1. Below bowling, above him practicing and not playing again.

2. I don't even know if I agree with Levin's assessment that they should bring him back.

Tanner Steidel

I can't agree/disagree with anything Mike wrote about Bynum in that article because he claims a version of Mike was out of meat. Mike would never be out of meat. Mike is meat.

Justin F.

Perhaps I am numb to everything, but the flamenco dancing barely registers with me. If this was literally any other athlete, it'd get a simple blurb on Crossing Broad, way too many page views from the Least Common Denominator portion of the Philly fanbase, and be forgotten about the next day when CSN cameras catch an innocent and unexpecting woman in a nip slip. This only is a big deal because it's Bynum and it's 2012-13. At the same token, though, much was made of Mike Richards's and Jeff Carter's partying, and they were always active and healthy hockey players, so perhaps I am mistaken.

My answer to the second question is in parts. If the Sixers are willing to for real tank over the long term and build a team that way, then they should not re-sign Bynum. But if not re-signing Bynum means the alternative is Josh Smith/Al Jefferson and the return of mediocrity, then the Sixers can't not try to re-sign Bynum. As awful as it may seem, the Sixers need Bynum, Sixers fans need the hope someone like Bynum represents, and Andrew Bynum needs someone to believe in him. I loved Irish07's comment in Levin's Toot It or Boot It post. Even if the Sixers bring back Bynum on a 3-year deal and disaster strikes again to Bynum's knees, the end result of suckage is far better than being an 8-seeded sacrificial lamb for years to come. Come to think of it, Bynum re-signing and disaster striking might be an accidentally efficient way to ensure for-real tanking provided the Sixers don't go the lipstick-on-a-pig route they went on at the end of this year.

I'm rambling now so I'll just end with this e-mail with my assertion that Nihilistic Mike and I would become fast friends should we ever meet.

Brandon Lee

1) I'm not sure where it ranks. I didn't even understand it at first. All I see is this guy dancing. Oh, wait, that's Andrew Bynum? Are you sure? Well, yeah, it does look like him. That makes sense. But, wait, why, how? What? Why... is this? I can't... What? What. Wut. Wat? I wasn't even angry. I really just don't care what Bynum does off the court. At the same time it's bizarrely hilarious and depressing. Thinking on it more, it's clear to me now why he did it. If there was only one way to truly understand comprehend the abonimation that was the 2012-2013 Sixers season... it would be through interpretive dance. And that's exactly what happened in that video. Bless you, Andrew, you're a Godsend.

2) Sure, I do think they should bring Bynum back. I'll admit that I think there's a decent chance it wouldn't end well... but what's the alternative? If they want to contend any time soon, Bynum is the guy to help them do that. If they don't want to contend and will commit to a rebuild, fine, you can leave Bynum out of the plans. I don't think the rebuild model is something the ownership will get behind though.

It's so easy to say "get rid of Bynum". Too easy. So many people dislike him for how the nightmare season went. Fine. I get it. What's not easy though is to say what their plan is after that. Some are so quick to say "get rid of Bynum" but so slow to propose any kind of realistic plan, outside of a full rebuild (which a number of people are not OK with as it means patience and tanking), to get this team into championship contention.

Michael Levin

I think there may be a middle ground between Bynum and Mediocracy though. Like, before the Bynum trade, we could not have foreseen a Bynum trade. So who's to say the Sixers can't eek out a similar trade? Well they don't have the assets that they moved for Bynum, or ones similar to what Houston gave up for Harden, but with some shrewdness, there's a chance they could after this season.

It still basically requires being bad in 2013-14 -- something that's fairly likely anyway -- but not the extended tanking we're talking about when we say a true rebuild. I'm all about getting a superstar in the draft, obviously, but Harden and Bynum were both semi-stars at earlyish stages of their career acquired via trade. It's not as out of the realm of possibility as people (and sometimes, I) make it out to be.

Brandon Lee

Who do you think "could" be available that would fit that bill? I'm honestly asking because I'm not sure.

Derek Bodner

Agreed. We have this notion that we didn't get our return on Andrew, he should spend 100% of his time either in the gym rehabbing or resting. Anything else is wrong.

Really, it's an issue because:
- He hurt himself once on a non-basketball related activity already. If he hearts himself training, nobody cares if he went bowling once or twice during his rehab
- We got nothing out of him.

It's also very much a case of Andrew Bynum's reputation following him. He has a reputation of not working hard and for basketball not being all that important to him. If he's out partying, when he didn't play a minute for the Sixers, fans are going to make a big deal of it. Is it fair to expect him to not have a life outside of the gym and rehab? Probably not. But the reaction is predictable.

Where does the dance rank? Very low. It's the offseason. He's allowed to dance.

Do I agree that the Sixers should bring Bynum back? It all depends on the details.

We always talk about contention here. True contention. Bynum is one of the few paths we have towards that. We're not getting there through free agency or the draft this year. To disregard that would be irresponsible. But I'm not hitching my wagon to 4-5 years of Andrew Bynum, either. 1 year is a slam dunk. 2 years is (probably, I reserve the right to change my opinion) worth the risk for me. 3 is something I would have to consider.

I just wish people would look at the outcome of the Bynum situation and acknowledge the risk that is inherent in that approach and stop acting like the draft is the only method of building a team that was risky and not a sure thing.

Rich Hoffman

I do like that Bynum has sort of taken his dancing to the underground. With moves like that, at least he's not on Dancing with the Stars? Right? Right?

Brandon Lee

I guess my problem with these examples is that I feel they were special situations. You're not always going to have these kind of talents available. Bynum became available because the Lakers wanted to acquire what they deemed was an even better talent in Howard. Then there's the fact Bynum had baggage: seemingly concerns about his attitude, and his knee injuries.
Harden was traded (correct me if I'm wrong here) because it would have been tough for OKC to pay him. In a league where there is a dearth of talent, how often do many teams have a problem where they have *too much* talent?

Then, as Mike pointed out, there's the fact these teams had assets that the Sixers don't.

I don't doubt the trade method is a way to acquire talent, but I question how viable it is for this team moving forward.

Rich Hoffman

I don't think trading for a player of Bynum of Harden's caliber is possible at this time, not unless Jrue is a part of the package, and even then most likely not. The Sixers' only two assets of any real value are Jrue and Thad. There have been a lot of good arguments for keeping Bynum around, ones is respect, but I just can't get on board with those knees. I'm more willing to take the risk of landing a young, healthy, impact player in the Top 5 of next year's draft.

Michael Levin

Eric Gordon, just off the top of my head.

Dave Rueter

I'm amazed that some of you guys are still advocating bringing back Bynum. You all are gluttons. It's like getting dumped by a girl, but then continuing to pay her cell phone bill.

I have no alternative plan other than sucking for the next three or thirty years. And is there really that big a difference between the Ryan Howard contract and offering a big man with bad knees four years? Like Ryan Howard, you're paying Bynum because of past performance. Bum knees are bum knees. Bynum's knees don't care he's still in his mid 20s.

"Said his body too old for working. Say his body too young to be looking like him." - Tracy Chapman

Justin F.

If the Sixers are committed to sucking and landing a top 5 pick in next year's draft, then I am fine with not bringing Bynum back. The issue I have is I can't see Sixers management thinking that way. If they don't bring Bynum back, I believe they are more likely to get Josh Smith and be mediocre again then tank and build through the draft.

Roy Burton

At the risk of sounding like the proverbial broken record, I'll just say that I agree with several points made on both sides. Despite our differences, I think we all can agree that the Sixers SHOULD employ one of the following two strategies:

1) Sign Bynum to a short-term deal (ideally 1-2 years): If the Good Lord is willing, the creek don't rise and the knees hold up, perhaps he and Jrue can be the foundation of a potential contender.

2) Let Bynum walk, spend as little money as possible this offseason, and fully embrace the concept of not being remotely competitive for at least the 2013-14 season (and maybe longer).

Sadly, as Justin alluded to, the reality is that neither one of those outcomes is likely to happen, and the Sixers WILL resort to one of the following tactics:

1) Feel the need to commit to Bynum long-term (4-5 years) because they don't think they can find an equivalent talent via other methods and/or because they need to "justify the trade."

2) Willing or unwillingly move on from Bynum, but instead spend the money on mid-tier guys such as Al Jefferson, Nikola Pekovic, et al.

I hope that I'm wrong on this, but I'm not sure that I am.

Michael Levin

Those points are all absurdly correct, Roy (though I think signing him to a one year deal would be a really bad idea -- plus he'll get much, much more on the market so it's a moot point).

And I get Dave's point about wanting to let go, as Dave speaks for the older people who assure me "the Sixers could've paid me half as much to sit on the bench all year and I would've done a better job." I've heard a variation of that from at least 10 different people, most of whom collect social security. It's the old school bitterness, the idea that the players owe the fans something and when they don't gut out an injury, they're soft. It's why people loved Iverson in spite of all the other stuff.

But when you take everything away, you're left with a simple question. Is it more like that you'll find a superstar in the 10-spot of the draft for the next three years or that Bynum will play enough to matter? If you could guarantee me the Sixers won't fall into WIN NOW AT ALL COSTS mode, I'd say less go with the draft. I love the draft. But I don't think these guys (or almost any guys, really) are capable of committing to that. And Jrue/Thad are good enough to keep them from doing it accidentally.

So at this point on a Friday morning, I say Bynum. Ask me again at lunch.

Dave Rueter

29 is the new 70 apparently.

Sean O'Connor

Be warned, this is a bit long.

First, Dave can't be considered that old, his message reads "Sent from my iPhone" and I have a BlackBerry so GET OFF MY LAWN.

Second, to me, and my opinion changes on this by the week pretty much since there is no right answer, signing Bynum makes sense if you're willing to endure a downside of painful, painful mediocracy for, at a minimum, 2 more years. If you sign Bynum to a long-term deal (and when I say long-term, I just mean 3 years - I still don't see him getting more than 3 even though I know some of you would disagree), you have to build the roster around him to win within his contract period, which means we probably can't tank even if we sign him. So if Bynum doesn't come back healthy or even at all under another contract, you get pain. Same as it ever was.

I'm not sure the upside is title contention, but by that point hopefully the team's recent positive steps (greater focus on analytics, player development, new coach) can get them to near that level, and maybe a few more moves could take them there.

At this point I think the best option for this coming year might be to pull a Portland. Create the worst bench possible and get all your value out of your starting five and see how it goes. You have Bynum's contract on the books still even if it's a failure, so if it doesn't work a full blow up may be in order. If Bynum ends up bad/unhealthy, the record should be fairly bad (if not top 5 worst, then still bad, probably a better pick than 11). If he's healthy, build around what we have. Not ideal because the one-year upside is low, but down the line it could really set a direction.

Also, the thing we always have to ask about tanking is, really, how we would go about accomplishing it? Because nowadays, you have to make moves to tank, whether it's signing Michael Beasley to an absurd contract or intentionally taking back bad contracts in trades or clogging your cap space with crappy contracts or employing DeSagana Diop. So what I'm saying is, doesn't tanking likely involve trading Thad away too? I'm assuming Jrue's here for the long haul and practically untouchable, but Thad could fetch some things if we wanted to tank.

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