Will Bynum, Sixers make long-term commitment?

Will Bynum, Sixers make long-term commitment?

February 19, 2013, 7:45 pm
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Andrew Bynum has missed a season-high 55 games so far this season. (USA Today Images)

The clock is ticking on both the Sixers’ season and Andrew Bynum’s chances of being a part of it.

There are eight weeks remaining and 31 games for the Sixers. Bynum says he is still a couple weeks away from taking part in a full practice (see full story), which is diminishing the number of times fans or the front office will see him in uniform in 2013.

Bynum insists his status of becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1 has no impact on his timetable to get back in game action.

“I am focused on getting back and getting right, as opposed to being in a rush,” Bynum said after a rigorous workout on Tuesday. “As I have said before, it doesn’t matter to me. I will play anywhere. I just need to be healthy.”

“He will be able to manage the pain as long as he doesn’t get swelling,” Sixers head coach Doug Collins said. “The swelling is what incapacitates you because your joint gets stiff and you can’t move, so if he can keep the swelling out he will be able to manage."

The Sixers want nothing more than a healthy Bynum. After all, they gave up Andre Iguodala, Nik Vucevic, Moe Harkless and a future first-round draft pick for the services of the dominant center.

Iguodala has helped Denver to a 33-21 record, second to Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division and good enough for the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

Vucevic is averaging 12.4 points and 11.5 rebounds as a second-year center in Orlando. Meanwhile, Harkless is just beginning to scratch the surface of his tremendous potential.

The future for those given up by the Sixers in the Bynum trade looks bright. But what about the Sixers’ future with a 25-year-old with knee issues since becoming a pro straight from high school eight years ago?

Bynum admits the pain this time around is greater than his previous injuries. However, he still believes he will get healthy.

“I want to be healthy,” Bynum said. ”I know what I can do. The question is, is my knee going to hold up? That’s something the organization has to think about. All I have to do is think about going out there and putting up buckets.”

Much of what Bynum said Tuesday sounded familiar to prior answers from earlier this season. In addition to the words being redundant, the way in which they are delivered always seems to be in a nonchalant manner.

A franchise’s future, as well as Bynum’s own, are at stake. Yet, ho-hum seems to be the approach for the center who added yet another distracting hairdo to his resume on Tuesday with half-corn-rowed, half-afro look.

There is an understandable need for caution when it comes to Bynum’s return, but shouldn’t a sense of urgency be overlapping that feeling?

The reality soon could very well be that Bynum is on a team out of the playoff hunt. Therefore, playing this season would no longer be viewed as a necessity.

It’s tough to tell at this point which party is taking the greater risk -- Bynum or the Sixers organization.

“Would I be a risk? I don’t know because I don’t do risk assessment. That is what the front office does,” Bynum said. “Myself, I know what I can bring and I need to get healthy. Every day I am working out. Every day I am running. Every day I am playing basketball.”

When asked if he envisioned himself being a Sixer beyond this season, Bynum was true to his personality.

“I am wide open,” he said. “I want to play. I am here now and I don't have any problem with the Sixers. They have treated me great this entire time. I have had my trainer here. I have been working with KJ (team trainer Kevin Johnson) and the guys, so there are no bad feelings either way.”