The700Level

The Andrew Bynum Trade: The Big Bang of The Process turns 5

043013_andrew-bynum.jpg

The Andrew Bynum Trade: The Big Bang of The Process turns 5

When the official book of The Process is written, its first chapter will begin on August 10, 2012. 

That's the date when the Sixers unexpectedly wormed their way into the biggest trade of the '12 offseason, a four-way deal with the Lakers, Magic and Nuggets that saw Philly deal their best player (Andre Iguodala) and a handful of not-quite-blue-chip assets (Nikola Vucevic, Mo Harkless, a protected future first) for the guy who was supposed to usher in the next era of Philadelphia 76ers basketball: talented, enigmatic Lakers big Andrew Bynum. 

The consequences were drastic, and in none of the ways we wanted: Bynum got injured and stayed injured, never playing a healthy game in Philadelphia, while Iguodala thrived in Denver and then Golden State, Vucevic stuffed stat sheets in Orlando, and Sixers coach Doug Collins gradually lost his mind as Bynum festered on (and/or nowhere near) the Sixers' bench. If you can remember one thing that happened on the court for those Sixers that season (with the possible exception of Nick Young's infamous falling-out-of-bounds heave), kudos -- more likely, your memory of '12-'13 is an amalgam of bizarre hairdos and even stranger press conferences

But of course, we all remember what happened next: Collins left, and caretaker GM Tony DiLeo was replaced with our Once and Always Dark Lord, Sam Hinkie. After the Bynum trade stripped our team of rebuilding assets, Hinkie was charged with restocking the cabinet, an order he carried out with extreme prejudice: Young All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday was swapped for Nerlens Noel and another draft pick -- which Hinkie then used to get back the pick Collins dealt to Orlando -- and within a couple years, the Sixers had one of the league's best collections of rebuilding pieces, despite having gotten no tangible return from the Bynum deal but a couple sporadically healthy months of late-career Jason Richardson. 

There's an argument to be made that it's still the best trade the Sixers have made this decade. 

As long ago as late 2013, I wrote about how the Bynum deal was actually a good thing for the Sixers. It was the necessary boom-or-bust moment for a team whose fans had long tired of seasons hovering a couple games above or below .500, and who were ready to swing for the upper deck even if it meant possibly whiffing in cartoonish fashion. "What the Sixers basically did two summers ago was trade Andre Iguodala, Nik Vucevic, Moe Harkless and a pick for the opportunity to hit the rest button on their franchise," I theorized. "It hurts to lose future assets like Vucevic and Harkless--we could certainly use both in a year or two's time--but all in all, it seems like a small price to pay for finally getting the franchise on the right track."

Nearly four years later, that last part feels even truer. The NBA of the seasons since has proven increasingly inhospitable to its middle class: either you're legitimately competing with LeBron and the Warriors, or you may as well blow it all up. Building around Iguodala, Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young probably wasn't a viable option back then, and it definitely wouldn't have been in a couple years' time as the team took a big leap in salary but not in potential. Without the Bynum trade, The Sixers might have turned into a cautionary tale by now. Instead, they're playing in the Christmas kick-off game this year.

Though it feels like a discussion far beyond moot at this point, it's also probably worth recalling how in the summer of 2012, Andrew Bynum was a 24-year-old big man coming off a career season (19 and 12 on 56% shooting) in which he'd played 60 of 66 possible games. He was the kind of guy you bet the farm on -- especially when you don't have the crops to develop one yourself. Of course, you have to wonder why our medical staff didn't notice (care?) about the red flags that would manifest with Bynum before even his first practice and quicklky resulted in his knees turning to Laffy Taffy, but in theory, the logic was sound. 

And that's what it's all about right? Though Sam Hinkie never really shared his thoughts on the Bynum trade -- he called it a "failure" shortly after his hiring, but that was more about the then-free-agent Bynum and his prospects of being re-signed by the Sixers, which, chortle -- it's hard to imagine he wouldn't have at least admired the deal's intent. Sixers fans got angry last month when an article on The Ringer mis-attributed the swap to Hinkie's regime, but the confusion is somewhat understandable: The Bynum trade was essentially proto-Process, both in its big-picutre sense of purpose, and (ultimately, sadly, frustratingly) in its borderline-catastrophic outcome. 

It's actually not hard to find parallels in the Bynum deal with a non-Sixers blockbuster pulled off this summer: Paul George going from Indiana to OKC, in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Imagine Paul George, an expiring deal with no built-in loyalty to OKC, gets hurt this season. Or imagine he simply doesn't gel brilliantly with Russell Westbrook, the team underwhelms and he leaves without hesitation in the offseason, with Westbrook following shortly after. Then the trade was a tragedy, right? 

Well, no. The Thunder gave up a lot in the deal, but they also come out about even money-wise, and if George bombs and leaves -- with Westbrook likely not far behind -- it puts them in a position to tear down immediately, and start their maybe-always-inevitable hard rebuild for the future. The Sixers gave up a little more than OKC did, and George is generally a lower-risk guy, but the skeletons of the deals are similar. But the Thunder won't get roasted if theirs falls apart: We're a lot smarter about them as a public now than we were five years ago -- it only took a couple hours for the NBA media to start cap-doffing to OKC GM Sam Presti for the parachute he'd packed himself while trying to pull off such a seemingly dangerous trade stunt. 

As the Sixers go into the 2017-'18 season with the actual team we tried to pretend we had in '12-'13 -- a core of (seemingly) well-fitting, elite prospects, who should grow into a legitimate Eastern Conference power, possibly as soon as this year -- it's hard to feel much but gratitude towards the Bynum trade. Back then, it felt like the end of the world, and it was -- but really, we never much liked that world to begin with. The NBA world we're living in now has already been infinitely more rewarding, and we haven't even started winning yet. Trust the 'fro-cess.

Nnamdi Asomugha ... the movie star?

0402013_nnamdiasomughauspw.jpg
USA Today Images

Nnamdi Asomugha ... the movie star?

Eagles fans certainly know that Nnamdi Asomugha knows how to be a part of drama. So given his experience with the Birds' 2011 "Dream Team," it's only fitting that the former cornerback is still starring in dramas.

Only now, he's doing so on the big screen.

In a lengthy feature published by Bleacher Report Tuesday afternoon, the former Eagle talked in depth about his transition from being an NFL player to a big-time actor, and Asomugha specifically hit on some of the problems from his time in Philadelphia. After the 2011 NFL lockout, the Eagles signed him to a $60 million contract that never panned out, with the team sputtering to an 8-8 season and eventually cutting him just at the beginning of the Chip Kelly era in 2013.

“It wasn’t like I could spend much time talking about defenses and schemes,” Asomugha told Bleacher Report's Joon Lee of the free-agent frenzy following the lockout. “It was ‘pick the team, the head coach and make a decision.’ And that’s what we did.”

Asomugha, who married Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actress Kerry Washington in 2013, made his acting debut on an episode of Friday Night Lights back in 2009 and will star in the upcoming film, Crown Heights. The full-length feature won the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Flim Festival and will be released August 25.

But the piece also spends a significant chunk of time on Asomugha's fateful two seasons in the City of Brotherly Love. Apparently, he was good friends with Jason Babin and according to Lee, the former Pro Bowl corner would rather not talk about his years with the Eagles (yet, still does at length...).

Here are some quick hits from Asomugha in the story:

 On why the "Dream Team" never panned out:

“We all just came in trying to learn and trying to pick it up as quickly as possible. It was never a feeling of ‘I’ve been here before. We’ve done this before. I can come in with the same confidence that I had before.’”

On the controversial report that he was eating lunch outside the NovaCare Complex in his car:

“It was interesting that that came out because guys would go home, guys would eat in their car. It’s not an abnormal thing on any team. We’d eat in the training room. We’d eat in the locker room. We’d eat in all sorts of places.”

On leading a quiet life:

“I’m really bad at self-promotion. I know that about myself. People told me all of the time, ‘You could be such a big star if you just talked about yourself more,’ but I’m not good at that. It’s always been about team.”

If you want to read the full story, click here. If you want to instead reminisce and cry about the "Dream Team" that never was, watch this mini-doc from the Eagles' 2011 season:

Cole Hamels' ridiculous mega-mansion is up for sale

1.jpg
Realtor.com

Cole Hamels' ridiculous mega-mansion is up for sale

Have $10 million and need 19 bathrooms? Then Cole Hamels’ Branson, Missouri mansion can be yours.

According to Realtor.com, Hamels and his wife Heidi are selling one of the most over-the-top homes you’ve ever seen. The listing price is for a cool $9.75 million and the inside is completely unfinished, so you’re going to need a few more bucks to finish the job.

Hamels began building the 32,000 square-foot home in 2012 while he was still with the Phillies, but the couple has decided to relocate to the Dallas area rather than Missouri, where his wife is from.

Sitting on 104.7 acres of land with more than 1,700 feet of shoreline, this one-of-a-kind residence boasts some ridiculous features. In addition to the 10 bedrooms, the home has 13 full bathrooms and six half bathrooms. There are four separate living areas and includes a second kitchen, exercise room, wine cellar, elevator and a massive three-car barn/garage. There would have been plenty of room for Cole to display his World Series ring, and MVP trophies from the NLCS and World Series.

Hamels has one year left on the 6-year, $144 million contract he signed with the Phillies with a club and team option for 2019. After the 2019 season, Hamels will be 35 and a free agent. Perhaps he’ll need a new place to live.