Bynum sits, Iguodala awaits in 76ers’ opener
Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bynum will forever be linked in the
The All-Stars weren’t traded straight up – yes, it took four
teams, 10 other players, and five draft picks to move Iguodala from
Philadelphia to Denver and Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers to the
76ers – but in Philly, the trade is viewed through a one-for-one
Without a game played, Sixers fans say their team came out on
While Bynum remains indefinitely sidelined with a bone bruise in
his right knee, the Sixers faithful would have traded Iguodala for
some warm bodies to fill the training camp roster.
Credit general manager Tony DiLeo and team president Rod Thorn
for getting so much more for Iguodala, a player who had come to
represent the mediocrity that plagued the Sixers until last
season’s surprising run to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Iguodala was a solid player for nine seasons with the Sixers,
playing a full 82 games in five of them, and was easily their top
perimeter defender. He was one of the flashier dunkers in the
league and his long road toward stardom was rewarded last season
with his first All-Star berth and a gold medal in London playing
for the star-studded U.S. men’s team.
He was just never fully embraced by Philly fans.
His biggest moment came last season after Iguodala sank the
winning free throws with 2.2 seconds left in a 79-78 victory over
the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in Game 6, helping them advance to the
second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time
Iguodala hopped on the scorer’s table and played to the crowd as
the catchy 76ers’ anthem blared in the arena.
The fans went wild and, for a moment, he was the most popular
athlete in Philly.
It’s the highlight the Sixers will surely play in a video
tribute to Iguodala before the Nuggets open the season at
Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
The video might be the only reason almost 20,000 fans don’t boo
him out of the building.
Iguodala criticized the way coach Doug Collins handled him and
said he didn’t enjoy basketball most of the last two seasons. He
told CBSSports.com his enthusiasm from last season was dampened
because he found criticism ”draining.”
Well, that won’t endear him to anyone in his return to
Philadelphia. Not that he cares.
”I really haven’t thought about it,” Iguodala said.
Asked in Denver if he hoped he’d be cheered, Iguodala said, ”I
really don’t care. It’s just basketball.”
Collins, starting his third season coaching the 76ers, took the
high road discussing Iguodala.
”He left on a very high note, which is the thing I’m very happy
about,” Collins said. ”The two years that I was here, what we
did, he was such a huge part of it. I’m sure Dre’s going to want to
come in here and win.”
Iguodala’s return will be overshadowed by Bynum’s absence.
The 25-year-old Bynum will sit out the opener as he recovers
from the bone bruise that has plagued him since before the start of
training camp. Bynum was held out of all preseason activity and the
Sixers ran their offense without him, instead of through him, for
the last month.
Bynum told the Sixers he could play with the pain he’s feeling.
The Sixers are being cautious with Bynum and refuse to rush him
back. They’d rather have the services of the center considered the
best in the East for the long haul instead of a few games, or even
a few weeks, at the start of the season.
Bynum is coming off his best NBA season after averaging career
highs with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds while making his first
All-Star team, starting for the West. He was the NBA’s
third-leading rebounder and 20th-leading scorer, while also ranking
sixth in the league with 1.93 blocked shots per game.
”I know one thing, I know he wants to play right now,” Collins
said. ”We have to really be smart in all the things we do in help
him monitor that situation. Sometimes, an athlete’s competitive
heart can get the best of him.”
The Sixers said Tuesday that Bynum has started low-impact
conditioning work, and will be re-evaluated by medical personnel on
a continuous basis. Bynum shot 3-pointers while his teammates egged
him on following a late practice at the Wells Fargo Center.
”He’s feeling a lot better and his spirits are better,”
Collins said Tuesday. ”That’s all positive stuff.”
Collins said power forward Thaddeus Young and center Lavoy Allen
They’re a nice duo for sure, but the Sixers aren’t an Atlantic
Division contender without Bynum.
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