In a massive 4-team deal, the Philadelphia 76ers are trading their biggest star while acquiring a player who many consider the second best center in the NBA, according to reports from ESPN.
An ESPN source told ESPN.com the 76ers will acquire Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson while the Denver Nuggets will acquire Andre Iguodala. Meanwhile the Lakers will get superstar center Dwight Howard while the Magic will acquire Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Niloa Vucevic and one protected future first-round pick from each of the other three teams, according to the source.
The 24-year-old Bynum averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for the Los Angeles Lakers last year and was the starting center on the Western Conference All-star team. Standing 7-feet and weighing 285 pounds, he is considered by many to be the second best center in the NBA, behind Dwight Howard.
Jason Richardson, 31, averaged 12 points per game for the Orlando Magic. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard/small forward is a two-time slam dunk champion, one-time leader in 3-point shooting and averages 17.5 points per game for his career.
The incredibly talented but highly polarizing Andre Iguodala was the longest-tenured player on the Sixers and is currently playing for Team USA in the London Olympics. Drafted by the Sixers back in 2004, Iguodala is known for his versatile set of skills and superb defense. Despite this, Iggy, who made his first all-star team last February, was widely criticized by many Sixers fans who believed he did not perform at a high enough level to earn his six-year, $80 million contract.
Despite reports from ESPN, the Sixers have not yet confirmed the trade. A source told ESPN the Sixers have not yet reached out to Bynum’s agent about an extension. CSN reports the team could offer the max of three years and $60 million though Bynum could command a five-year, $100 million deal if he decides to test free agency.
Despite Bynum’s immense talent, he has not been without criticism. The Plainsboro, New Jersey native frequently clashed with Lakers head coach Mike Brown last year and has earned the rep of an immature player. He has also struggled with injury throughout his career though he remained relatively healthy last year. Despite this, the Sixers are a significantly better team with Bynum in the middle. With Howard reportedly in L.A. it would not be a stretch to say that the Sixers have the best center in the Eastern Conference, if ESPN’s reports are confirmed. Bynum is certainly a major piece in the team’s hopes of becoming a legitimate championship contender.