The arrangement is pretty complicated, but here is what is looks like from the Sixers’ perspective. They acquire center Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers and swing-man Jason Richardson from the Orland Magic. The Sixers send away Andre Iguodala, rookie Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic and a future first round draft pick.
So the Sixers finally have the big they desperately needed to be a serious competitor. Bynum is a seven-year veteran of the NBA but still only 25 years old. He averaged 11.8 boards and 18.7 points per game with the Lakers last season. That is the good news. The other news is that he becomes a free agent after next season. So Bynum should be playing this season proving he is worth a big long-term contract. And the Sixers will need to prove to Bynum that they are a serious contender worthy of his efforts.
Richardson, 31, averaged 11.6 points and two assists per game last season with the Orlando Magic. He should provide valuable experience at shooting guard behind Nick Young and Evan Turner. Richardson might also get a shot at starting small forward if Dorell Wright isn’t up to that task.
So how does this look on balance for the Sixers? Well clearly the team is no longer light on the bigs and heavy on swing players. With Bynum, Arnett Moultrie, Lavoy Allen, and Thaddeus Young, they should have sufficient beef to compete with other strong front courts. But when you give away the first player you drafted this year, a future first round pick and your best defensive player, that is an awful lot to pay for someone like Bynum that you might only have for one year. In addition, all the off-season moves have left the Sixers very vulnerable at point guard. I just don’t see either Royal Ivey or Xavier Silas being a suitable backup for Jrue Holiday at point guard. I suppose Evan Turner could slide into that role, but Doug Collins might not like that idea.
If this trade does go through, we probably can expect the Sixers to be less fun to watch. There will likely be fewer fast breaks and fewer alley-oop passes for slams without Iguodala around on either end of these plays. But these antics, while great to watch, don’t necessarily make for a long playoff run. What the Sixers have been lacking is a good half-court game, which seems to be how many NBA contests, especially in the playoffs, are decided. Throw the ball into the big man in the center and let him do his thing. Bynum should certainly fill that role. Boring but winning, that is the tradeoff. I guess we can take boring.
But how long will Bynum chose to remain in Philly? Well that certainly will depend on how well the team does this season and probably on the way he is loved or not by Philly fans.