Sunday, February 17, 2013

How Badly did the Sixers lose the Andrew Bynum trade?

It is really easy to look back at the Andrew Bynum trade and think about how poorly the 76ers made out in the deal. And I mean really easy. They gave up one of the top perimeter defenders in the league, a young, talented center, and an athletic swingman for Bynum, who has as many minutes played this year as I do, and Jason Richardson, who is roughly 74 1/2 years old.

However, things aren't always as simple of what was given up for what came back. For example, getting rid of Igoudala's contract was arguably the most important part of the trade for Philadelphia.

Yes, having Nik Vucevic and his 12.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game would really be a nice addition to the team right now, especially since the Sixers are relatively weak in the frontcourt, but for the cap relief that getting rid of Iggy provided, those parts of the trade are probably a wash.

Having canceled out those two aspects, the next step has to be evaluating the remaining aspects of the deal. The Sixers traded Moe Harkless and a protected first round pick for Jason Richardson and Andrew Bynum. This is where the trade gets a little shaky.

Bynum is basically a moot point here. He hasn't played a game yet this season. I highly doubt that he will. If he does, it'll be for a few minutes per game at the end of the year for no reason other than showing himself to potential suitors in free agency.

Moe Harkless is nothing particularly special. He is averaging just 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds on the season. This wouldn't be too horrible for a rookie, except for the fact that he is playing nearly 20 minutes per game! For comparison, Dorell Wright, in roughly the same number of minutes per game in 06-07, outdid Harkless in most of the important statistical categories.

I don't think anybody is calling Wright a high quality NBA player, and at least he can hit a jump shot.

So no serious loss there in getting rid of Harkless. Moving on to the protected first round pick, there is only so much that can be said. Mid-to-late first round picks don't often pan out, so a protected pick isn't overwhelmingly valuable, and it's more than acceptable as far as a loss in a trade that offered the potential of Andrew Bynum playing a full season in Philly.

Jason Richardson is not the player he was in 2005. He's not even the player he was in 2010. Unfortunately, he's still being paid like that player. Richardson is due about 6.5 million dollars per year for the next three years, the last of which is a player option.

Kind of makes you wonder why the Sixers amnestied one year of Andres Nocioni's deal.

J-Rich's contract is going to hurt the team over the next few years, but not too badly considering how much cap Philadelphia cut in other parts of the trade.

Overall, the bottom line here is that the trade was not a success by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn't the disaster many people are making it out to be either.

I just can't wait until the Sixers spend 60 millions dollars on Al Jefferson or Josh Smith and commit to another four years of finishing five games under .500.

-Sean Lerman

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