Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. But the Philadelphia 76ers can take solace in knowing they’re not the only ones facing a gripping, Bynum-related decision.
Set to become an unrestricted free agent upon season’s end, much has been made of Bynum’s future—especially by those like myself. I’m personally fascinated by it. He got paid nearly $17 million to do nothing this season, which implies he’s due for a pay cut. Standing at seven-feet tall and with an All-Star selection under his belt, though, I was convinced he was going to get a max contract from one team, maybe even the Sixers.
I’m not so convinced anymore. Why? Because I was wrong. And not only am I willing to admit it, I’m happy to admit it. Finally, it seems the new CBA is doing its job, even if only slightly. Philly and any other suitors appear to be touch-and-go when it comes to Bynum’s next contract, in terms of how much he’ll receive and how many years it will be for.
In fact, per Chris Broussard of ESPN.com, Bynum may not even receive close to the maximum he is allowed:
Indeed, executives seem divided on how they would handle Bynum. I think a one-year deal worth about $11 million certainly would be fair for Bynum, considering his injuries as well as his production when healthy. To take such a deal, he would have to understand he got paid nearly $17 million this season for doing nothing.
But if a team inexplicably offers him a multiyear deal and big money, I understand he’d have to take it. But anything beyond a year would have to be partially guaranteed, as Executive No. 3 said.
If you have time, read the whole article. Twice (just kidding, but not really). Broussard talks to six NBA executives who all seemed split on what will happen to Bynum next.
Amid a flurry of differences, the general consensus was that Bynum wouldn’t be maxed out. Not by the Sixers, not by anyone. A few were even skeptical that he could land a multi-year deal (God, was I wrong).
Still, I stand by my previous assertion that someone’s going to blow him away with an offer. At this point, that means a two-plus year pact, with a bulk of the salary guaranteed. Someone’s going to give it to him. The free agency crop isn’t brimming with star-caliber options, and some teams are bound to get desperate.
With that in mind, I do wonder what Bynum will decide to do.
For the sake of this argument, let’s say no team offers him more than two years. Let’s also assume that even if they do, everything after the first year will be performance based, and hinge on how much he plays. At 25, would he be better off signing a one-year deal?
Our immediate thoughts toe along the lines of absolutely not, but what we must understand is that signing a one-year pact affords Bynum the opportunity to prove himself once more. If he comes back and has a good 2013-14 campaign, he’ll have the chance to receive a max contract in 2014, alongside a free-agency class that includes a plethora of other superstars.
Before you dismiss it, just think about it. Operating under the uncertainty of a partially-guaranteed contract isn’t ideal, and neither is playing on a one-year accord. The latter at least keeps a max contract within reach, though. It arguably even his increases his chances at getting one.
Should Bynum find any kind of success, he would be able to capitalize off both his performance and a heightened sense of desperation in 2014. Remember, LeBron James is going to become a free agent in 2014, which means he’s going to break numerous teams’ heart like he did in 2010. Bynum could stand to land a massive deal, not unlike Amar’e Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer did, as an essential consolation prize.
Risky? Absolutely. Possible? Also, absolutely. It all depends on how competitive the market for his services is this summer.
And, you know, how confident Bynum is in his ability to actually play beyond next season.
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.