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.
So, who wants Andrew Bynum now?
Steve Aschburner: Bynum has “New York Knicks” written all over him, doesn’t he? Except maybe for being too young. My guess is that some team feeling pressure to spend money or make a splash – Atlanta, Brooklyn, maybe Philadelphia (throwing good money after bad) – will look past his history and temperament and mess up its salary cap for years to come. Look at what Detroit did a few years ago, overpaying Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. Bynum, as is, probably has a higher risk/reward potential than that sort of move.
Fran Blinebury: Bakersfield Jam? Rio Grande Valley Vipers? Maine Red Claws? Texas Legends? If anybody steps forward to offer him anything close to max money next summer, they should have their franchise charter revoked and immediately assigned to the loser of the Sacramento-Seattle squabble. He belongs in the NBA D-League to prove himself.
Jeff Caplan: I think Philly owes it to itself to get this guy on the floor in a Sixers uniform. Now, it has to be at the right (read: low) price and for one year, but at this point with double arthroscopic surgery upcoming on his two ailing knees, no team is going to risk a major financial investment on Bynum, not in this new CBA era. Now, who else might take a stab at Bynum? He might be priced just right for the Heat, who have interest in Greg Oden. So why not Bynum? The Mavs are desperate for a big man and you know Mark Cuban is a risk-taker, or an opportunist, as he prefers. How about Toronto? And, of course, the team that collects burned-out big men, Charlotte.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Someone who is (a) very desperate, or (b) loves to gamble. Or – oh, yeah – someone who gave up a lot of talent and prospects to get him. The 76ers will try to keep him, that’s for sure. The only question is what that means in tangible terms: Will their offer be in line with what Bynum expects and whether another team will be on that desperate side. But if you want one team, I’d say Philly.
John Schuhmann: Charlotte has got to be the most desperate for an impact player, especially on the interior. Other candidates with cap space are the Hawks and Mavs. But while both the Hawks and Josh Smith have seemingly reached the end of the line, swapping Smith for Bynum is obviously a huge risk. And with the way Mark Cuban has talked about fiscal responsibility under the new CBA, it would be pretty surprising to see him splurge on a guy that didn’t play this season. So Charlotte is my guess. And the more interesting question is how much money Bynum is going to get.
Sekou Smith: A GM who is either desperate to make a splash or trying to get himself fired. Seriously. You can’t trust Bynum’s long-view anymore than he can trust his busted knees to hold up for a few weeks, let alone an entire four or five years under a new contract. This isn’t about Bynum’s heart or desire. This is about the fact that Bynum cannot trust his body to deliver him out of this mess. He had cover in Los Angeles when his body betrayed him. Kobe Bryant was always the face of the franchise and Bynum’s health issues were always an intriguing side story but never the main topic of discussion. Without Kobe as a cloak, Bynum’s stuck in the spotlight in Philly. And it’s buyer beware from this point on with the big fella, because everyone knows his history.