Julius Erving – NBA legend and special consultant to the Philadelphia 76ers – says that Andrew Bynum is “damaged goods” and the Los Angeles Lakers essentially tricked the Sixers into a deal last summer.
Dr. J made the comments in Philly before the premier of his documentary, “The Doctor”, according to ESPN:
[pullquote]”When you talk to the Lakers, when you talk to the Celtics, when you talk to — well, those two in particular — the guy on the other end of the phone has his fingers crossed,” Erving told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “So whatever he’s telling you, he’s not telling you the truth. He’s working a deal for him. And what happened to us last year with getting damaged goods hopefully will only happen once. And that’s the extent of that learning curve.”[/pullquote]
I think it’s unfair to say that the Sixers traded for “damaged goods” when they made the deal for Bynum. Sure, he’s had numerous knee problems over the years, but that was well known when the Sixers agreed to a deal. The Orlando Magic passed on Bynum after checking his medical records, so it’s not as if the Lakers were hiding anything. Besides, Bynum was coming off his best year as a pro: he made the All-Star team and missed only two games due to an injury unrelated to his existing knee issues.
The Sixers knew what they were getting into with Bynum. He was always going to be somewhat of a risk because of his health problems and due to the fact that he’d be an unrestricted free agent this summer, never mind his unpredictable personality. However, the Lakers had to take a risk of their own by making a move for Dwight Howard, who could walk this season and leave the Lakers high and dry.
So far, though, the Lakers were wise to trade Bynum for Howard seeing as Drew failed to appear in a game last season for the Sixers. Although. Bynum did partake some pretty nifty Salsa dancing this summer while on vacation in Spain, so there’s that…