Ten Biggest Questions for the Sixers' Off-Season: #1. What About Andrew?

Ten Biggest Questions for the Sixers' Off-Season: #1. What About Andrew?

This guy. After holding the Sixers hostage for the entirety of the 2012-13 season--maybe his fault, probably not totally--Bynum will continue to have the team in his grasp until at least July 1st, when free agency begins and Sam Hinkie and company can figure out whether or not the Funny Looking Kid With the Big Hair is gonna be a part of this team's future. In the meantime, every major decision this team has to make--from what to do about Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young, to who to draft or attempt to trade for, even to who is gonna be our coach next season--depends on whether or not Bynum sees his fro's shadow at the beginning of next month.

Andrew is not only the biggest wildcard of the Sixers' off-season, but the biggest unknown in all free agency. In his list of the 20 best available big man free agents, SI's Rob Mahoney decided not to even rank Bynum, saying "it’s impossible to know where he fits into the free agent landscape or to predict what an interested franchise might offer." Too true--there's little precedent on the open market for a proven, talented, still-pretty-young big man with degenerative knee issues who didn't play a single game the year before. He's the ultimate risk/reward gambit, a guy who could very feasibly be the steal of the off-season or a franchise-crippling disaster. I could see him signing an incentive-laden deal somewhere for three years and $40 million, and I could see him landing a five-year, $85 million deal from a team desperate for a shot at relevance. The only thing certain with Andrew is that he's going to cause some team a whole lot of regret this summer--possibly because they had the chance to sign him and didn't, and possibly because they had the chance to sign him and did.

Where do the Sixers fit in with all this? Well, as Hinkie stated in his introductory press conference, the Sixers do have two advantages when it comes to dealing with Bynum--they can negotiate with him before any other team, and they have more information about his current and ongoing health status than any other team. (They can also offer him a larger max contract than any other team, in the somewhat unlikely situation that it comes to that). But otherwise, they're just one of many suitors Bynum will likely have this off-season, a spate of partially or totally rebuilding teams with room for improvement in the middle, a list which may also include the Rockets, Mavericks, Cavaliers, and who knows who else. There's no reason to believe he'll be naturally inclined to lean towards signing with the Sixers, and the idea that he might give Philly a break out of some feeling that he "owes" us for not playing at all last year is, uh...well, we wouldn't bank on it, anyway.

Of course, there's probably some residual feeling among certain pockets of the Sixers faithful that we shouldn't even try to re-sign the controversial big man. Drew didn't exactly do a ton to ingratiate himself to the fanbase while riding the pine last year, and the more ridiculous stories and videos that leaked regarding Bynum over the course of the season--bowling, flamenco dancing, lawsuits involving the song "Currency" by Trina--the more a lot of fans wished the guy would just go away already. Even when healthy, Bynum has a reputation as an eccentric, to say the least, and there would be concerns about how his attitude would clash with the fanbase. Combine that with all the injury concerns, and news that TFLKWTBH had signed for big money elsewhere would probably be cheered by many in the City of Brotherly Love.

But as I've cautioned for the entire season, and will continue to do so now, be careful to cut bait too quickly with Andrew. There aren't a lot of quality big men available throughout the league, and arguably none who have Bynum's upside when healthy. The alternative to re-signing Bynum is to sign, trade for or draft a big who gives you at best, maybe 2/3 of what you get with a healthy Bynum--the scoring ability and fit but not the youth (Al Jefferson), the youth and the offensive talent but not the right fit (Josh Smith), or the youth and the upside but not the proven track record (Alex Len, Nerlens Noel or any number of other draft prospects). The Sixers have some good players, but they're still badly starved for elite talent, which you really need to be a factor in this league. To discard a player like Bynum, an All-NBA performer when right, just because he's a headache to deal with...it's pretty short-sighted.

So does that mean we should do what it takes to re-sign him, potentially at any cost? Well, not necessarily, and a lot of that depends on Hinkie's long-term plan for the team, and the Sixers' inside knowledge of his knee(s) situation. The fact that we haven't heard anything about Bynum or whatever progress he is or isn't making these last few months would lead me to believe he's not exactly right as rain, yet, but that doesn't mean he's dead to the world exactly either. More importantly, Hinkie might conclude that even with a healthy Bynum, the Sixers would be too far away from real contention, leading him to conclude that stripping the team down and rebuilding through the draft would be a likelier path to relevance than investing in a huge question mark like Andrew.

Personally, I'd say that if they can convince him to sign a short-term deal--something for just two or three years--then they should probably sign him, almost regardless of his health concerns or the possible price tag. If he's healthy, then maybe he, Jrue, Thad and (in a super-perfect world) Evan can grow together as a young core of a team that can be competitive in the east for years to follow. If not, then we're probably not going to be competitive for the next three years anyway, and we can just strip away loose parts, pile up losses and draft picks over the duration of his contract, and reset in the Summer of 2016. It's far from a foolproof strategy, but it might be the highest-percentage play, and that's probably what Hinkie is looking for this off-season.

But if I had to guess, I don't think that's what's going to happen. I think ultimately, Drew will want the years, and he'll get them from someone, but not from Hinkie, who'll just see the injury risk as too great for a four or five-year commitment. Bynum will officially leave Philadelphia without having played a single game for us, and without us getting any kind of assets in return to replace those (Iguodala, Harkless, Vucevic, future 1sts) that we gave up for him. That would be an incredibly sad state of affairs, obviously, but throwing bad money after good just to "get something out of the deal" would be a gross miscalculation that our Smart Guy GM is probably too smart to make.

Still, I'd like to see Bynum in a Sixers jersey next season if at all possible. C'mon, Andrew. Think about how much fun you'll have going to wrestling events with Spence and Evan. Plus, if you're not too traumatized to get back into rolling, Wynnewood Lanes is really the shit.

Speedy WR Bryce Treggs getting reps with Eagles' starters, could debut soon

Speedy WR Bryce Treggs getting reps with Eagles' starters, could debut soon

Speedy Eagles receiver Bryce Treggs, who hasn’t yet been active for a game, could be soon.

Treggs said after practice Thursday he got more reps with the first-team offense this week than he has all year.

“Way more,” Treggs said. “I feel like they’re comfortable with me now, where they don’t have to tell me what to do. I know the plays and I know where to be.”

Does that mean Treggs will make his NFL debut against the Vikings Sunday? Not necessarily. But it does mean he’s at least on the Eagles’ radar.

Treggs began his rookie preseason with Chip Kelly and the 49ers but didn’t play during the preseason because of a preexisting knee injury.

When the 49ers released him as part of final cuts, the Eagles claimed him. He was cleared medically last month and has been gradually learning the Eagles’ offense since. He’s been on the 53-man roster all year but inactive for all five games.

Treggs has 4.31 speed and ranked eighth in NCAA Division I last year with 21.2 yards per catch as a senior at Cal.

Treggs potentially could give the Eagles something they’ve lacked all year: a deep threat.

The Eagles have connected on just eight pass plays of 25 yards or more this year, and only five NFL teams have fewer.

Jordan Matthews has four of those, and running back Darren Sproles has two, which leaves just two for the rest of the Eagles’ other wideouts — one for Nelson Agholor, one for Dorial Green-Beckham and none for Josh Huff.

The Eagles have been using Green-Beckham more and more each week — he played a season-high 42 snaps in the loss to the Redskins Sunday.

Agholor has been a disappointment, with just 16 catches for 181 yards this year, no catches over 35 yards and no catches of 20 yards since opening day. In 18 NFL games, the former first-round pick has never had 65 yards in a game.

Treggs said he feels comfortable with both outside spots and the slot and has gotten practice reps at all three spots this week.

Eagles Injury Update: Bennie Logan (groin) misses second straight practice

Eagles Injury Update: Bennie Logan (groin) misses second straight practice

Every injured Eagles player returned on Thursday except for one.

Defensive tackle Bennie Logan (left groin strain) missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday and it doesn't seem likely he'll be able to play on Sunday against the Vikings.

If Logan can't play on Sunday, backup Beau Allen will get the start.

"Bennie was playing well [against Washington]," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said on Thursday. "He was one of the few guys in this game that was playing well. You know, it will be more reps for guys like Beau [DT Beau Allen], and maybe even a little bit more for a guy like Fletch [DT Fletcher Cox]. We'd like to rotate those guys as much [as we can], but sometimes you're not able to. And then a guy like Destiny [DT Destiny Vaeao], who has been a part-time player and made a couple plays, but also he's given up a couple. He needs to be more consistent. We've also used some defensive ends inside the rush on third down. That helps alleviate a little bit."

While Logan was still out, several other key Eagles returned to practice after missing Wednesday: Jason Kelce (foot), Ron Brooks (calf) and Marcus Smith (groin). Brooks was the only limited participant in Thursday's practice.

Kelce missed Wednesday's practice because he got a cortisone shot on Monday.

Furthermore, several Eagles who were limited on Wednesday -- Jordan Matthews (knee), Allen Barbre (ankle), Mychal Kendricks (ribs) -- were full participants on Thursday.