What they do next is critical. The Sixers have money to spend, both in the form of Bynum's contractual number ($16.9 million) and the amnestied Elton Brand ($16 million).
Bynum's knees will not improve. Sure, he could play when they feel a little better, but long-term, this is not a healthy scenario. If the Sixers passed on that basis alone, no one would have a big issue with it.
But the Sixers aren't luring any studs to Philadelphia. The nucleus is not bad, but marquee free agents won't be beating a path to South Philly to play with Holiday, Young and Turner. There just isn't enough talent to make the Sixers contenders for a long time.
Make no mistake, someone will offer Bynum a lot of money. Eric Gordon missed essentially all of last season with a knee issue and the Phoenix Suns offered the restricted free agent a truckload. The New Orleans Hornets were forced to match.
How many great centers are there in the NBA? Dwight Howard, a free agent himself, then who? Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets? He's a great pivot man without anything close to Bynum's credentials and he got max money, so someone will take a chance on Bynum.
It just can't be the Sixers. This season left such a bad taste in everyone's mouth, how can you bring him back? Best-case scenario is he plays three- quarters of every season and is able to go strong in the playoffs. Worst-case scenario is what Philly is enduring right now.
Bynum is injured. Everyone around him says he's working hard, but this is a nightmare. DiLeo still says "Plan A" is bringing Bynum back, but acknowledged on Sunday there is a "Plan B."
Plan B could revolve around Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap or Monta Ellis, and it's safer. Plan A is dicey and you run the risk of setting the franchise back ever further.
Say they sign Bynum and you get more of the same next season. Will this fan base ever forgive the team for doing this? Doubtful.
The Sixers made an improbable run during last season's playoffs and took the Boston Celtics to seven games in the second round. They beat the top-seeded Chicago Bulls because Derrick Rose tore his ACL in Game 1. Otherwise, they would've gotten trounced.
Give the Sixers credit for trying to make a huge splash. It takes something to break up a team so close to the Eastern Conference finals, but the brass knew it was smoke and mirrors.
The Bynum trade didn't work. Now, unless they can make some kind of miracle pitch to get a Howard or another top-flight star, this team is back to rebuilding.
The plan was great and the future bright.
But reality, is reality.
- Magic Johnson's $1 million offer to LeBron James to participate in next year's NBA Dunk Contest is nice (money would go to charity), but it's ill- conceived. What does LeBron gain from doing it? It's the Dunk Contest and nothing needs to be gained. Frankly, as the flagship of the NBA, James should feel some sense of duty, but he hasn't and he won't. Publicly blackmailing the league's best is not wise. Magic is calling him out and if he participates, fine. But what if guys like Jeremy Evans, or Terrance Ross upstage him? Now, LeBron is humiliated and probably a little angry. Just not a wise move.
- Tony Parker's ankle injury isn't a death knell on the San Antonio Spurs championship hopes. He sits a month, is rested for the playoffs and the Spurs will still keep a top-two seed. They are three games ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the No. 1 seed in the west and have a lot of home games left.
- The New York Knicks need to iron out end-of-the-game rotations. Not having Amare Stoudemire out there, having Amare out there, Mike Woodson can't get it right.
- The Los Angeles Lakers are inching up to that eighth spot. How exciting would Lakers/Spurs or Lakers/Thunder be in the first round?
- Movie moment - I believe "Pulp Fiction" to be the greatest movie of all time. I saw it like seven times in the theater alone and re-watched Friday night in the hopes of finding some nugget I missed before, and I did. It's weird to think that the toaster going off with the Pop Tart wannabe is what prompted Butch to shoot Vincent. Who knows how that situation goes down otherwise (badly, obviously). And, I love that Marsellus Wallace was headed back to Butch's with two coffees and a box of donuts. Seemed like he was going to wait for Butch with Vincent and went and did something nice for his employee. Class.
- TV Moment - I will be glued to my television all week because announcing a new Pope is great theater. The white smoke, the black smoke, the intrigue, it's all wonderful. A new Pope doesn't happen much in a lifetime, and you don't have to be Catholic to appreciate good television.