Andrew Bynum Injury: Did the Sixers Get Hosed in the Andre Iguodala Trade?

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on in the second half while taking on the Denver Nuggets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

After watching injured knees sidetrack Andrew Bynum's early career, 76ers fans can be forgiven for growing a bit weary upon hearing the All-Star center will sit out for the next three weeks.

Don't fret too much, though.

The Philadelphia 76ers are holding their prized summer acquisition out as a precautionary measure, allowing him time to rest after receiving a specialized treatment for his knee, which was itself preventative. In other words, Bynum's brief absence is a good thing, or at least it should be over the long term.

At the moment, it's a minor inconvenience.

Philly could use all hands on deck as it attempts to build chemistry in training camp, a relatively tall task given the offseason additions of Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright, Nick Young and Kwame Brown. Having Bynum around would be nice.

But if he gets off to a slightly slower start this season, it's not the end of the world. Chances are this young team will take some time to click anyway—and watch out when it does. Head coach Doug Collins has steadily turned the 76ers into a legitimate playoff team in his two years with the club, and he'll be working with his best roster yet this time around.

Thanks to Bynum, of course.

And that's why it's far too premature to label this trade a failure. Injury anxiety notwithstanding, Bynum gives Philadelphia a chance to beat healthy teams in the postseason (unlike the 2011-12 Chicago Bulls). Coming off a career campaign in which he averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and nearly two blocks, the 24-year-old is poised to take on an even greater responsibility while stepping out of Kobe Bryant's shadow—and Bryant's 23 field-goal attempts per game.

You just don't come across these kind of 7-footers all too often, not ones with their whole careers ahead of them.

If the 76ers had given up too much talent in acquiring Bynum, the worst-case injury scenarios would have to weigh on our minds more heavily.

Without knocking Andre Iguodala, though, this deal was (and is) a no-brainer for general manager Tony DiLeo. Iggy remained a fine and especially well-rounded player, but he had a player option worth almost $16 million in 2013-14.

There's no way he was that well-rounded.

Assuming he picked up that option, the 76ers would have eventually faced a difficult decision. Iguodala will be 30 in the summer of 2014 and facing the prospect of declining athleticism. Philadelphia would have a tough time justifying another substantial deal with younger, more affordable options like Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young capable of playing on the wing.

More importantly, this team has a young core. Beyond Turner and Young, it's most promising building block is 22-year-old point guard Jrue Holiday.

With Bynum now anchoring that core, the 76ers will presumably have a unit reaching its prime together and really blossoming over the next two or three years. 

All of this presupposes that Bynum remains healthy and that he remains with the 76ers. The latter issue should resolve itself in time, and the former is anyone's guess.

It's always tempting to believe that past injury struggles are a sign of things to come. And sometimes they are. Other times they're the product of bad luck or freak accidents. What we do know is that Bynum is coming off his healthiest season, and we know what he can do when healthy.

Until we know anything different, you can't take issue with this summer's trade. Not just yet.