On Wednesday the Sixers pulled out all the stops to officially introduce the newest members of their team.
Center Andrew Bynum and guard Jason Richardson were greeted by Sixers dancers and plenty of 76ers fans at the National Constitution Center.
“I’m very passionate about my game,” Bynum told cheering Sixers fans.
Wearing a Sixers T-shirt, Bynum said about Philadelphia that he's “leaning toward making this my home.” That brought even louder cheers from an event that was more pep rally than press conference.
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Bynum and Richardson came to Sixers as part of the four-team trade that sent Andre Iguodala from the Sixers to the Nuggets and Dwight Howard from the Magic to the Lakers. In the trade the Sixers also gave up Nik Vucevic, Moe Harkless and a conditional draft pick in the deal.
Bynum's contract is up after this season. But the Sixers can offer him a max deal worth over $100 million over five seasons.
"I enjoy Philly, I'm from here, I don't see anything wrong," the Central Jersey native said. "I don't see any problem why I wouldn't want to stay here."
Bynum really seemed to revel in the hoopla at Wednesday's event as pointed out by CSNPhilly.com's John Gonzalez:
When Bynum went over to shake hands with some fans, they pawed at him and shouted his name. One man took off one of his gray and white Nike high-top sneakers and handed it forward for the Sixers center to sign. Bynum obliged, and then tossed it back into the crowd. It was hard to tell whether the fan grabbed his shoe, or if he was forced to hobble home with only half his footwear.
"It’s amazing. I’ve never experienced something like this – the fact that all these fans came out,” Bynum said. “I’m looking forward to getting the season going. This is a golden opportunity for me."
Bynum is set to have injections of plasma-rich platelets that supposedly stimulate healing in arthritis-affected areas in both of his knees. Lower Merion's Kobe Bryant, his former teammate, has credited the therapy with dramatic improvement in his own troublesome right knees and an injured left ankle.
Sixers president Rod Thorn said Bynum and his surgically repaired knees checked out fine after a lengthy physical on Tuesday.
"You've got to take calculated risks sometimes," Thorn said. "Players of his level don't come on the market every day."
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