And I thought the day just couldn’t get any better for the Philadelphia 76ers.
While nothing is set it stone, the latest tweet from ESPN NBA analyst J.A. Adande should have Sixers’ fans jumping for joy (keep an eye on the second sentence):
Howard a Laker. Bynum will re-sign in Philly. Denver saves $15 million in 2014-15. Only team this wasn’t a no-brainer for is…Orlando
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) August 10, 2012
The Sixers were “willing to take a shot” with this trade, seeing as they received no previous commitment from Andrew Bynum on whether the former Lakers’ center would re-up with Philly with his contract set to expire.
This news only corroborates with common sense: When Bynum becomes eligible for free agency after this 2012-2013 season, the only team that can offer him a five-year max deal—worth nearly $100 million—is Philadelphia thanks to the new CBA. Other teams would only be able to offer four years and money in the range of $78 million, more than a stone’s throw from what new owner Josh Harris and Co. will be willing to throw at their new superstar.
Bynum, surprisingly, is also a local product who’d likely be interested in returning home for the long run. He grew up in Plainsboro, NJ, which is just over an hour away from the Wells Fargo Center. Playing at St. Joseph’s University in Metuchen, Bynum averaged 19.2 points, 14.9 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game as a junior and senior. As you all know, he skipped attending college and made his way directly to the NBA similarly to fellow local product Kobe Bryant.
If the Sixers are indeed able to keep Bynum longer than one season, next season’s free agency period could be extremely interesting with players like Chris Paul and Monta Ellis hitting the open market. Next year is a ‘Year of Reckoning” of sorts for Kwame Brown, Nick Young, Dorell Wright and Jrue Holiday. By parting ways with all but Jrue, the team could save up to $17 million which go to another superstar to pair with Bynum. With a dominant center and potentially an All-Star guard like Paul or Ellis, the team would make their presence in the East felt by 2013-2014 at the latest.
The 24-year old is set to make $16.5 million next season, but the Sixers could avoid free agency altogether by extending him with a contract worth up to three years, $60 million during the season.