It’s been over a month since the Philadelphia 76ers acquired star center Andrew Bynum, but yet we still are gearing up for the 2012-2013 NBA season with expectations that will be met with no less than a semi-final, or even final round exit in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Of course, the Sixers have their first proven star since Allen Iverson in 2005, so there will definitely be some high expectations in the air. The Sixers, however, are quite familiar with another Los Angeles big man who didn’t live up to the expectations: Elton Brand.
The Sixers finally have more room to take care of Brand’s final year of his contract after using the amnesty clause on him this last offseason. He was the last “major star” the Sixers had aside from Andre Iguodala.
Brand took the other LA team, the Los Angeles Clippers, to a rare postseason run in 2006 and averaged 20 points per game, something he never did in Philadelphia. Although Brand missed most of the 2007-08 year, it looked like the Sixers had locked up their future success by signing him to a 5-year deal. Unfortunately, he only lasted 4 injury plagued years and was declining when he was able to be on the court.
By the end, the Sixers were desperate to dump his contract for cap room, room they wanted to use on another savior. Now it appears that Bynum is their new savior, but he too has a lot of question marks surrounding him and his future in Philadelphia. Although the 76ers have signed Bynum after the best season of his young career, they have also signed a player that has been plagued with knee problems and has acted out in the past.
If future HOFs Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant couldn’t keep Bynum under control on a championship team, can Doug Collins control him as part of a mediocre squad? Unlike Brand, who was under contract, Bynum has only one guaranteed year with the Sixers before he has a chance to test free agency. If the Sixers give Bynum a gigantic contract to keep him beyond 2013, which they are tempted to do, they better make sure he is worth the risk; otherwise, they’ll be watching another alleged star blow up in their face.
Brand couldn’t take the Sixers to the next level and instead was a symbol for their continued struggles. Philadelphia couldn’t make any big moves to save their team and when they did, it didn’t work out as planned. Brand became a precautionary tale, and if there was ever a time to retell his story, the time would be now.
Is Bynum just another superstar to cross paths with the Sixers and lose his skill and health after leaving Los Angeles? Hopefully, that isn’t the case when the Sixers start the season, before they offer another Brand-like contract to Bynum that would cripple their franchise if it doesn’t work out.