Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
You’re Philly’s GM: What do you do with free-agent-to-be Andrew Bynum?
Steve Aschburner: Tough one. They made the trade and gave up a valuable asset in Andre Iguodala, so letting Bynum walk (limp?) away after one lost, partial season would be difficult. Then again, overpaying and putting your team on the hook for years to come for a player of dubious durability and questionable heart would be way worse. The Sixers need Bynum to get on the court and, at some point, go as hard as he can for as long as he can. Then they need to fix a price in their heads, well south of a max contract or at least with some non-guarantees, and stick to that. If the market for Bynum goes crazy, they should in good conscience let him go.
Fran Blinebury: His name [Philly’s real GM] is Tony DiLeo and he and I both wait for Bynum to get out onto the floor and show what he can do down the stretch of the regular season. There’s no reason to rush and panic and trade him away at the deadline. If Bynum can prove he’s healthy, Tony and I have the best center in the Eastern Conference.
Jeff Caplan: You do what you have to do and that’s get him signed to a long-term contract and cross your fingers. Skilled 7-footers don’t grow on trees, even ones with suspect knees and, at times, a suspect mind. If his wonky knees were a non-issue (and I know that’s a huge “if”), I’m a bigger fan of Bynum than Dwight Howard simply because of his fully evolved offensive capabilities. You can literally throw it into him on the low block and let him go to work old-school style, he’s that smooth. He’s not the defensive presence that Howard is, but no one is. Unfortunately, those knees are always going to be an issue and there’s nothing anybody can do about it, so you swallow hard, pay the man and hope to goodness he stays healthy (and for goodness sake put a no-bowling clause in the contract). If Bynum can stay healthy, the Sixers suddenly have one of the best inside-out combos in the game with All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday.
Scott Howard-Cooper: I try to re-sign him. I have to. How hard I try depends on what the doctors tell me. If the exam results show reason for concern, the team has to be protected. That could mean trying for a deal loaded with incentives, with enough potential payoff that Bynum would take such a package that might initially seem unattractive.
John Schuhmann: I offer something a lot less than a max contract, both in dollars and years. And if he doesn’t like it, I watch him walk out the door and I spend my money elsewhere. Obviously, his health is always going to be an issue, but so is his attitude and drive. When healthy, Bynum has a great combination of size and skills, but he’s just not a franchise player. Philly made a mistake by trading Andre Iguodala and Nikola Vucevic for this guy, but they shouldn’t compound that mistake by giving him a contract that has a good chance of being a serious burden in a couple of years.
Sekou Smith: Look at him, shake your head (while cursing him out under your breath) and then when you go back to your office and no one else is around you punch the wall. Had he showed up and played just a little bit, you would have had some idea of what you were getting in the former Lakers big man. What can you do with him? You basically have to hold on to him until the summer and then decide if you want to outbid someone for a 7-footer you paid all season but still don’t really know what he can do for your team.