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Andrew Bynum And The Sixers Bizarre Off-Season

Mar 13, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA;  Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum (17) dunks the ball during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum.  Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
Mar 13, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum (17) dunks the ball during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

The Sixers have agreed to trade Andre Iguodala and change for Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, in a four-team trade involving Dwight Howard. Iguodala is a terrific player – the Sixers' best player for half a decade – and he's been the de facto face of the franchise since Allen Iverson's departure, but Andrew Bynum is the closest thing to a real superstar the Sixers were ever going to get, and he's 24 years old.

Ironically enough, one of my pointless, hypothetical trades almost came to fruition. At the end of May, I proposed an Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner, for Andrew Bynum and Metta World Peace deal. Turns out the Sixers actually go a better deal. Here's what I had to say about the potential of Bynum in a Sixers uni:

Bynum and Holiday would mesh beautifully - on both ends of the floor. Lock them up for about 15 million a piece for the next five or six years, put role players around them, and that's absolutely a team that could develop championship aspirations - the ultimate goal.

Will this trade immediately morph the Sixers into championship contenders? Absolutely not. Does it put them in a better position to win a championship down the road? Absolutely, 100 percent, yes.

This move came out of nowhere. This move is also SO Sixers, and it capped off one of the most bizarre off-seasons I've ever been a part of. Let's try to make some sense out of it, after the jump.

This off-season, the Sixers: amnestied their highest paid player, let their leading scorer walk, traded for Nick Young, traded for Dorrell Wright and traded for the rights to Arnett Moultrie. They also drafted Moe Harkless, foolishly re-signed Spencer Hawes, signed Kwame Brown – idiotically committed to a starting frontcourt of the two, and traded Andre Iguodala for a 24 year-old headcase superstar, who once "got it in" with Rhianna (I feel like that's important).

Best of all, they made all of these moves without a General Manager. Rod Thorn thought about retiring, but he didn't, then the Sixers gave Danny Ferry the wink and the gun, but the Hawks hired him, then the Sixers hired Tom Penn, but they really didn't, and they still have Doug Collins – who still wants all the power, but now dresses funny.

Seriously, what do we make of all of this? The Sixers aren't the Sixers anymore. Of the 14 players on last year's roster, only five remain. For the first time in 16 years, the face of the franchise no longer has the initials 'A.I.' The team no longer has the makings of a perennially mediocre squad – they no longer lack championship building blocks.

Everyone, including myself, is very excited about the potential Andrew Bynum gives the Sixers, but here's no guarantee that next year's team will be much better than previous years. Bynum is a huge upgrade, but he alone, doesn't account for the collective losses of Andre Iguodala, Louis Williams and Elton Brand – arguably the team's top three players in 2012.

That said, how good the team is next year, doesn't really matter. What matters is, the Sixers now have two, maybe three players, under the age of 25, whom they can build a championship team around. Will Jrue take "the next step", or will he revert to the inefficient, lost player he was during the regular season? Will Evan Turner become a competent NBA player? Can Andrew Bynum stay healthy and engaged? How will he react to being a number one scoring option, and most importantly, will he re-sign with the Sixers? And, who the hell is the Sixers GM? Will they even hire a GM? (Tom Penn, please). These are all questions that need answering.

Regardless of what happens from this day forward, the Sixers absolutely made a move they needed to make – they swung for the fences. For the most mediocre franchise in the NBA, over the past decade, this was certainly an un-mediocre thing to do.

(Something to ponder – the Sixers received a better return for Andre Iguodala, than Allen Iverson).

I have often criticized the Sixers, their lack of a vision, and their commitment to mediocrity. I usually find an underlying fault in every transaction, citing the lack of foresight and/or championship aspirations. This time, I back the Sixers 100 percent. They just traded for the second best center in the NBA – let that sink in. The Sixers just traded ... for Andrew Bynum.

Apparently this wild ride is just beginning. Welcome to a new era of SIXERS BE CRAZY – an era which possibly includes the words 'championship contenders'.


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