The Philadelphia 76ers made headlines this offseason when they traded Olympian Andre Iguodala for all-star center Andrew Bynum. However, Andrew Bynum has yet to suit up for the Sixers because he is still recovering from an offseason knee surgery.
When the Sixers made the deal, they expected their new star center to be ready to play on opening day. Although at the time of the trade it seemed like it was a no-brainer that the Sixers would pursue re-signing Bynum, now it is not so clear what they should do.
Bynum has been injury-prone throughout his young career, so some have questioned whether Bynum is worth a maximum extension. Some fans argue that by re-signing Bynum to a max deal, the Sixers would put themselves back several years because they would not have salary cap flexibility for a long time.
However, the Sixers have given up too much to not pursue re-signing Bynum.
Essentially, if the Sixers do not attempt to re-sign Bynum, they will be admitting that they made a mistake by trading away Andre Iguodala for a player that will play with the team for just one season.
Here are some of the reasons why Bynum will be a good fit for the Sixers once he returns from injury:
1. Second Best Center in the League
Although Dwight Howard has struggled at times this season, there is no question that he is the best center in the league. However, Bynum closed the gap between him and Howard last season. Bynum was completely healthy for the first time in his career last year, and responded by having his best season as a professional.
Bynum's statistics also back up the claim that he is now the second best center in the league. Last season Bynum posted a 23.01 player efficiency rating and was second in the NBA only to Howard. In fact, Bynum's true shooting percentage was actually higher than Dwight Howard's last season.
These statistics prove that Bynum has taken the step to become the league's second best center, and this is exactly why he is worth signing to a maximum contract extension. There is no way that the Sixers can just let Bynum walk after seeing what he did last season.
2. Bynum's Age
Not only is Bynum the league's second best center, but he is also just 25 years of age. If the Sixers sign him to a maximum contract, they will have him throughout his entire prime of his career. This is not a scenario where if you sign a player to a maximum deal the player will be on the decline during the last two years of his contract. Bynum will be just as good, if not better, as he is now throughout his entire contract extension.
3. Bynum's Rebounding Ability
Rebounding is a major reason that Bynum is now the second best center in the league. He is an elite rebounder and looks like he will only get better as his career goes on.
Bynum's total rebounding rate was 18.7 last season, which ranked eighth among qualified centers. His rebounding prowess will serve the Sixers well when he returns from injury.
His rebounding ability is another key reason why the Sixers cannot afford to let Andrew Bynum walk after this season.
4. To Keep the Fans Happy
Philadelphia sports fans have been waiting for a superstar since Allen Iverson was traded to the Denver Nuggets in December 2006. Now that the Sixers have a potential superstar in Andrew Bynum, there is no way that they can sell the idea that Bynum was not worth an extension to their fans.
Philadelphia fans are not patient and will not wait six more years for another superstar. In order to keep these fans happy, the Sixers must do everything they can to re-sign Bynum.
In the end, there is no question that the Sixers will do everything in their power to re-sign Andrew Bynum. Although his injuries are concerning for Sixers fans, there is no question that Bynum will be an absolute stud when he returns to the 76ers' lineup.
Andrew Bynum will be a star in this league for a long time to come. The Sixers cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity of having him on their roster. Star centers are a rare commodity in this league, so the Sixers certainly must to do everything in their power to keep Bynum in a 76ers' uniform.