With Dwight Howard heading to the Lakers many are focusing on how LA is loaded or how little the Orlando Magic got back in return for the biggest asset in the four-team blockbuster.But lost in the shuffle is how well the Philadelphia 76ers came out.
All they did was ship off a big contract to Denver (Andre Iguodala’s $30 million over two years) and unproven or unknown parts to Orlando (2012 No. 1 pick Moe Harkless, young centre Nikola Vucevic, and a late first round pick).
In exchange the 76ers got quite the coup: the NBA’s second best centre in Andrew Bynum and an upgrade at shooting guard in Jason Richardson.
Bynum is the key to this deal.
How the heck does the second best player involved in this trade end up in Philadelphia, not Orlando?
Bynum is only 24 years old and coming off his best season as a pro (18.7 points per game, 11.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks). He’s a low post anchor on both ends of the floor in a league which is increasingly devoid of this skill set.
Last season the 76ers were only one win away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. They already have a solid young core with Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes, and Jrue Holiday. What Bynum does right off the bat is improve one of Philadelphia’s biggest problems, rebounding, while adding a huge threat on the offensive end.
With Bynum and those four other young players Philly’s main contributors are all 25 or younger.
Yes, Bynum is an unrestricted free agent next summer and likely won’t sign an extension right away (up to $60 million over three years). This shouldn’t worry the 76ers or their fans, however.
Come next summer the most money Bynum can get from any team will be the $102 million, five-year max offer Philadelphia can give him. It’s basically exactly what Deron Williams ended up doing with the Brooklyn Nets: staying with the same team because they can pay him the most.
So chances are good Bynum will stay in Philadelphia after this season and well into the future. This young group will develop together, a la OKC, and keep pushing the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference. Their front office should be commended for building a great team that is set to contend for years to come. Something truly special is brewing in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are only thinking short term as Kobe, Nash, and Gasol are all heading toward career downturns in the next few years, the Nuggets added a nice but mostly insignificant piece, and the Magic get the unenviable task of starting from absolute scratch.
Over the long haul, Bynum to the 76ers is clearly the better end of this deal and it’s not even close.
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