When the Philadelphia 76ers traded for Andrew Bynum last summer, Sixers fans thought they instantly upgraded their team. Coming off of a career-season, averaging, 18.7 ppg and 11.8 rpg, Bynum was seen as a key piece to competing with the Eastern Conference powerhouses such as the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, and New York Knicks.
However, it’s been quite the contrary. Bynum hasn’t logged one second of playing time since joining the Sixers. And it’s quite possible, he may never. Earlier this week, it was announced Bynum will have season-ending arthroscopic surgery on not one, but two knees.
Bynum, 25, is a free agent this summer. The 76ers must decide if they make an effort to re-sign him or let him walk. The seven-footer made $16.9 million for riding the pine this season. Based on his work ethic, or lack thereof, and the perception that he now has a degenerative knee problem, which could be career suicide for a man of his size, it’s doubtful he’ll command another hefty multi-year contract.
Philly sports fans hate him for ruining their season, and would prefer to be done with him. According to Pro Basketball Talk, they’re not the only ones fed up with Bynum’s malcontent behavior. His former high school athletic director and coaches also want nothing to do with him. Here’s what was reported,
Everyone here at school says the same thing: What’s wrong with him? Why does he act like that?” says St. Joe’s athletic director Jerry Smith. “He went from someone we’re proud of to someone whose name we don’t even mention anymore.”
“Yeah, I never respond to that kind of request (to defend Bynum), because Andrew has chosen not to stay in touch for whatever reason, so I just don’t get involved with it,” says Mark Taylor, who now coaches the St. Benedict’s Prep powerhouse. “I don’t dislike him, and he’ll continue to do well if he can stay healthy, but I’m sure he’s got people who will guide him in times like this.”
“Like most big guys with big expectations, he seemed uncomfortable with them,” says Wendell Alexis, the former Syracuse star who was Taylor’s assistant in 2004-05. “And subsequently, he seemed leery of people around him — coaches, or agents, or could be anybody. He had a very serious nature for a 17-year-old, actually, whereas most people that age — with that talent — would think the world was their oyster.
Normally when the chips are down, you can always count on people who knew you from way back when to have your back. Yet, to have Bynum’s former coaches and athletic director publicly voice their disapproval of him speaks volumes about his character.
If you can’t return home, where can you go?