Posts Tagged ‘Tony DiLeo’

Bynum Deal Burns Sixers

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Anyone reading between the lines two weeks ago should not have been surprised by tonight’s news that Andrew Bynum‘s season is over before it ever started and that he’ll need surgery on both of his ailing knees.

Bynum’s fate was sealed months ago, during training camp, when we all learned that the knee issues that have plagued him throughout his career were flaring up again after that blockbuster summer trade that sent the Los Angeles Lakers’ big man problem to Philadelphia for the Sixers to deal with.

The jaw-dropping part of this whole mess is anyone being shocked that it’s come to this: Bynum’s tenure with the Sixers consisting of not one single second of actual game action in Philly.

“After many months of rehabilitation and consulting with numerous doctors, Andrew and the doctors treating him determined that this is the best course of action at this point,” Sixers General Manager Tony DiLeo said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor and evaluate his status moving forward.”

Moving forward?

Bynum is an unrestricted free agent this summer. That’s a Bynum-filled headache the Sixers don’t need after paying him $16.9 million this season to model his wardrobe and throwback hair styles on the bench while his teammates suffered through a brutal season that was supposed to be filled with so much more.

DiLeo and the Sixers would be wise to let someone else take the next multi-million dollar risk on Bynum’s shaky knees. They’ve already poured more than enough money down that drain.

That offseason trade, a blockbuster 12-player deal involving four teams that had Sixers fans dreaming about being contenders, wound up being productive for everyone but the Sixers. Dwight Howard‘s season with the Lakers has been rough, but they are in playoff position right now and at least have hope for the future. Andre Iguodala has adjusted well in Denver, playing a similar role to the one he played for the Sixers, helping the Nuggets to a playoff spot and a 12-game win streak. And Orlando has made good use of Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless and Arron Afflalo.

The Sixers got a wanna-be dominant big man with bilateral knee bone bruises that have bothered him all season, a one-time All-Star with knees that might never support a bid for a second, third, fourth or fifth All-Star nod. A September trip to Germany for the Orthokine therapy injections that worked wonders for Kobe Bryant, and more recently Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams, did absolutely nothing for Bynum.

A Sixers team that was supposed to be primed for a climb up the ladder in the Eastern Conference playoff chase after a surprise run to the conference semifinals last season has suddenly turned into the poster child for thinking and long and hard before you act on the next so-called “blockbuster” deal.

Bynum’s absence has taken a toll on all involved, including Sixers coach Doug Collins, who reached his boiling point late last month after a loss to Orlando when he vented his frustrations about how things have unfolded.

“The team that we tried to put together we’ve never seen,” Collins said after that Orlando loss. “And so I think, when you take a huge piece away from it, your warts show.”

Direct shots at Bynum and the summer deal gone wrong were included in his 10-minute rant.

“We made a huge deal. And we have nobody playing as part of that deal,” Collins continued. “How many teams can give up Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless and Nik Vucevic, and have nothing in return playing? That’s tough to overcome, right? That’s just the facts. I’m not looking for any out. But that’s the facts. Nik Vucevic had 19 rebounds tonight. Spencer [Hawes] had one. I think Lavoy [Allen] had two.”

Promising young point guard Jrue Holiday has done his part. He became an All-Star this season and kept the Sixers afloat for a while, when everyone still believed that Bynum would actually hit the floor at some point.

But like everyone else in Philly, Holiday got burned by the Bynum deal.

And the ashes will blow through the franchise for a while, kicking up every time someone mentions Bynum’s name or the blockbuster that went up in smoke on the Sixers.

Blogtable: What To Do With Bynum

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.

Week 15: New York, Indiana or …? | The Bynum dilemma | Coach of the half-season

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 CaplanYou 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-CooperI 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.

Is Bynum’s Season On The Brink?

HANG TIME, Texas — Never mind all the wisecracks about Andrew Bynum’s head being in the gutter when he decided that bowling was a good idea for a patient with knee problems.

What was already a difficult situation for the 76ers with no end in sight continues to get messier and filled with more mystery.

Jason Wolf of the Delaware News Journal spoke with an internationally respected orthopedic surgeon who is not a member of Bynum’s medical team and has not examined his MRIs, but said the information that has been released publicly points to a diagnosis of osteochondritis dessicans lesions.

The surgeon said that if this is the case, there’s a small chance that Bynum’s knees could heal sufficiently on their own in time for him to return for the playoffs this season, but called that scenario “wishing on a star.”

“While they can heal non-operatively, they can take a long time [four to six months] to heal, and in adult athletes, frequently they will require surgical intervention at some point if there isn’t adequate healing within the first several months of treatment,” the surgeon said.

He added that if the 25-year-old returns to the court too early and the lesions become large enough, the condition could become career threatening. The surgeon spoke on condition of anonymity because Bynum is not his patient, but this probable diagnosis, given the player’s symptoms and treatment thus far, is backed up by reams of medical literature.

“I’m a little bit worried, bluntly, that it’s more advanced and the guy probably does need surgery. But if he needs surgery, then the year is completely written off,” the surgeon said. “But if he doesn’t have surgery and they think they can demonstrate healing in about four months, then he could potentially still come back for the playoffs.

“That’s what it sounds like they’re thinking about.”

The minds of Sixers management must be swimming in so many different directions each day as they wait for the latest medical updates and wonder if the player they are paying $16.5 million for this season will ever play.

On the bright side, Sixers coach Doug Collins does another of his mix-and-match, hustle-and-scratch jobs with a hungry, undersized lineup that has produced three straight wins and a 7-4 record.

But that’s exactly the kind of scenario the Sixers were trying to avoid after claiming the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference standings and then knocking off the depleted Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. They made the deal that sent their leading scorer, Andre Iguodala, to Denver for the 7-foot-2, 285-pound Bynum because they knew hustle could only get them so far. It was the big man in the middle — a former All-Star with the Lakers — who could elevate Philly to the level of contender.

Bynum, who has a history of knee troubles, was a gamble for Philly from the outset. The Sixers were hoping he’d be healthy and that a starring role with them could convince him to sign a max-level contract next summer as a free agent. But almost from the day that he was officially introduced to Philly in the shadow of the Liberty Bell, that plan began growing cracks.

Bynum has already undergone Orthokine blood-spinning treatment in Germany during the offseason and the timetable for his debut with the Sixers keeps getting pushed back.

It should be noted that Sixers medical staff has in no way said that Bynum is lost for the season. General manager Tony DiLeo repeats that the club has hopes to have an update on Bynum’s status by mid-December.

Yet, acccording to the surgeon contacted by the Delaware News Journal:

If there isn’t adequate healing in his right knee by mid-December or possibly January, it is likely that he will need surgery. Should the right knee exhibit adequate healing by that point, Bynum would still have to worry about the left knee, which he confirmed Sunday began swelling after bowling last week.

“It would be another two months before he could eventually be at a point where he could return [from the injury to his right knee], so now they found something in his left knee, so add four months to that,” the surgeon said. “You’re looking at around the end of March or April as potentially the earliest that he could come back, assuming that the MRIs show healing.”

That’s when a difficult decision ratchets up to the level of one that could hamstring or cripple the franchise for years.

If Bynum needs surgery and misses the entire season, the Sixers would seem in no position to still offer the maximum contract to keep him as their centerpiece of the future. Yet they can hardly let him simply walk out the door and have nothing in return for Iguodala.

Sixers Bynum Out Until January?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The next time you see Andrew Bynum in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform, you’ll probably be enjoying your Christmas gifts and breaking whatever New Year’s resolutions you’ve made.

That’s right, the Sixers big man has had his liftoff date for the 2012-13 season pushed back yet again, this time until January, according to a report released by the team this morning. This is not what anyone had in mind when the Sixers acquired Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers in that blockbuster Dwight Howard deal.

He was supposed to usher in Philly’s new era, at least temporarily (he is free agent at season’s end), as the new face of the franchise and the best big man in the Eastern Conference.

Instead, a bone bruise on his right knee has delayed his Sixers debut and will continue to do so, according to that report released by the team:

Andrew received a fresh MRI and was seen again by Dr. Altchek this past week on Monday, November 5.

At that evaluation, Dr. Altcheck extended Andrew’s return date for a second time by an additional three weeks. However, in what the Sixers believe is an optimistic sign, Dr. Altchek also indicated that Andrew could immediately resume low impact exercise. Low impact exercise for a period of two weeks is to be followed by three weeks of conditioning on an anti-gravity treadmill. The doctors and the team will be closely watching how Bynum’s knee responds during this five-week regimen. Upon successful completion, Bynum is expected to be able to resume normal basketball activity.

If the current prognosis holds unchanged, Bynum would be cleared to resume normal basketball activity by approximately December 10. In addition, the team estimates that Bynum in turn will need an additional 1-4 weeks thereafter for conditioning, training and practice before being able to resume game play with significant minutes.

Tony DiLeo, the 76ers General Manager said, “We know that Sixers fans are eager to see Andrew Bynum play and shine in a 76ers uniform. We also know that no one is more eager to see Andrew play for the Sixers than Andrew himself. He fully realizes the key contribution he can make to the team. Hopefully, that day is coming soon.”

Math wasn’t my strongest subject in college, but if Bynum has another five weeks of “low-impact exercise and conditioning” followed by another “one to four weeks of conditioning, training and practice” before he can play significant minutes, then he’s an afterthought for the Sixers until January, provided there aren’t any other setbacks during these next nine weeks.

The Sixers (4-2) have managed to survive without Bynum so far, a task that will no doubt get more difficult the deeper as the season goes on. But this is the risk they took when they decided to go after a big man with a checkered health history.

Bynum May Be Anti-Dwight Of Drama


Feels good. Will be ready for camp. Isn’t inclined to open a vein and bleed all over the national media about his contract situation.

If you follow the Philadelphia 76ers and take new general manager Tony DiLeo at his word, Andrew Bynum’s first season with the Sixers won’t have much in common with Dwight Howard’s last season in Orlando.

DiLeo, at his introductory news conference Monday, told reporters that the newly acquired 7-foot center was back in the U.S. and feeling the benefits of a plasma-therapy treatment he received recently in Germany, a la former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. Bynum, DiLeo said, would be ready for training camp next week at Saint Joseph’s University.

And, no, the Sixers and the big man haven’t talked yet about a contract extension, Tom Moore wrote for Which, if they stick to that strategy all season, would be both logical and smart.

“His agent said he wants to come to the surroundings and see the team, see the atmosphere,” DiLeo said. “He’s been very, very happy. His agent said he hasn’t seen him this happy in a long time. (more…)

Sixers Plan To Get Analytical


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Soon, we’ll be able to add the Philadelphia 76ers to the long list of NBA teams that use analytics to help them make decisions.

New Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo said Monday that the team will be looking to bring in a numbers guy to supplement a revamped scouting department, as John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports

While he will continue to work alongside Thorn, who will assume a consultant role with the team at the end of the 2012-13 season, DiLeo has already begun to implement changes designed to make the Sixers, who open training camp next week, stronger.

DiLeo said he will begin immediately bolstering the scouting department, emphasizing that the team will have a stronger reach in Europe and abroad. He will also head up the team’s search for an executive with an “analytical” approach to building rosters and evaluating player value. It was reported by some that the Sixers might go this route in hiring for DiLeo’s position.

“I’m a big believer in that so we’re going to try to bring someone in who is an expert in statistics and analytics just to give us a competitive edge over these other organizations that don’t do it or are not at that level,” DiLeo said. “We feel that if we can supplement our basketball minds with the analytical part of it, that will give us more of an advantage and it will give me more information so that I can make better decisions.”

The irony here is that, before DiLeo was promoted, one of the candidates for the Sixers’ GM job was Mike Zarren, assistant GM of the Celtics and one of the leading analytical minds in the league. Zarren pulled himself out of contention for the job a few weeks ago.

At this point, you’re clearly behind the curve in this league if you don’t use analytics. It’s great the the Sixers are moving forward, and also great that they’re beefing up their scouting staff, because you can’t make decisions based solely on numbers. Still, depending on whom they hire, it might take them a while to catch up to some other teams in regard to using analytics to their advantage.