After shipping out a franchise cornerstone in Andre Iguodala in exchange for Bynum’s services, the towering big man has yet to set foot on the floor as he continues to wage a losing battle with both of his knees.
And according to Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com, his return to the hardwood remains anything but imminent:
Bynum is slated to undergo an MRI on Dec. 10, at which point we may get a better handle on a timeline for his return to action. But considering his lengthy injury history and the fact that both knees are currently injured, it appears unlikely that we will see him on the court anytime soon.
Bynum’s contract runs out after this season, so the Sixers won’t be on the hook going forward if his knee issues turn out to be a long-term problem. However, they gave up quite a lot to acquire Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers, so there really is no way for the Sixers to spin this positively unless Bynum returns to form this season.
As Moore himself admits, this creates a wealth of problems for Philadelphia. Not just because there is no timetable behind Bynum’s potential return, but because the center is a free agent after this season.
How exactly are the Sixers supposed to justify investing $100 million in Bynum if he doesn’t set foot on the court all season? Better yet, even if he returns in time to close out the year, is there anything that he can do to prove there wouldn’t be a substantial risk behind signing him to such a lucrative pact?
While I”m not going to shut the door on Bynum’s career or his tenure in Philly, I’m going to have to say no. Even if he returns in time to lead the Sixers to playoffs, the team will always remembers what a headache his knees were. In turn, throwing nine-figures his way will prove to be a difficult decision, even though it was supposed to be a formality once they traded for him.
Should we believe the Sixers are leaning one way or the other, though? Well, despite the increasing number of setbacks Bynum has incurred there is no way they have made their final decision. How could they, when he has yet to play?
Philadelphia isn’t going to be able to make a final decision until Bynum puts on its jersey and represents the team for the first time.
The problem, though? Even then the Sixers cannot be sure.
Therefore, while deeming Bynum a bust is still a bit premature, we can be sure of one thing—he is never going to provide the type of certainty Philadelphia had in mind when it acquired him.
Not now, not ever.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.