The Sixers season has gone the same way Andrew Bynum's season has gone. Initially full of hope but ultimately cratering at rock bottom. The All-Star center (yes, he was an All Star in 2012) has been frustrated again and again by his inability to return to the floor. And the Sixers have been frustrated with it too.
The question for Bynum is about his health and about his future.
This season was supposed to be Bynum's opportunity to star on his own. The chance to show he was worth the max contract he was sure to get as one of the rare 7-footers with both defensive and offensive potential (never mind those troublesome knees). It was something Bynum looked forward to and was working to take advantage of.
That was obviously never to be and the Sixers have had to find a way to plug that gaping hole in the middle. Philadelphia is no longer in contention for the Playoffs and have disappointed as a team, understandably with Bynum out.
Andrew Bynum's summer has gone from one of certainty to uncertainty. And what he does in free agency is as big a mystery as any.
The sentimental pick would be for Bynum to stay in Philadelphia and sort of repay Philadelphia for having to deal with him missing out the entire season. Turns out, even though Bynum has not played at all this season, that is something Bynum's agent said Bynum would be open to according to John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Philadelphia has been terrific to us – from [majority owner] Josh Harris to [CEO/co-owner] Adam Aron to [general manager] Tony DiLeo,” Bynum's agent David Lee said. “The only way that Philadelphia would not be an option would be if they decided that they wanted to go in another direction.
As David Lee said, the ball is literally in Philadelphia's court when it comes to contract negotiations.
Of course, that is not a guarantee of anything. Bynum is going to be one of the top free agents that could move in this year's offseason along with Dwight Howard, Josh Smith and Andrew Iguodala (Chris Paul could also move, but that seems unlikely today). Aside from Howard and maybe Al Jefferson, Bynum is probably the best big man on the board.
It is just that injury history will dog him. The question is how much are teams willing to spend on Bynum and how much is Bynum willing to accept as a low salary. If he is intent on getting the max, he may be waiting a while to sign.
It is one thing to leave Philadelphia open as a free agent destination — that might very well be the "right" thing to do — it is another for the team to make the kind of commitment that Bynum is looking for.