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A Look Behind the Scenes of the 76ers’ Free Agency Meeting with Andrew Bynum

Jul 9, 2013, 9:58 AM EDT


With Dwight Howard and Josh Smith officially off the market, and Chris Paul long since committed to re-upping with the Clippers, the NBA’s off-season attention turns to our very own Andrew Bynum, the ultimate wildcard in this year’s free agency. Yahoo reports that Bynum has already been offered a two-year, $24 million offer from Cleveland (with the second year a team option), and that Bynum will meet with the Mavericks and Hawks before week’s end, in a kind of miniature version of the drama that preceded Howard finally signing with the Houston Rockets last Friday.

Of course, the week wasn’t going to transpire without the 76ers, the team that ostensibly employed Bynum last season, having their say in the matter. Their meeting with Bynum took place early this morning–possibly late last night by Andrew’s schedule–in a closed-door affair that left most media members in the dark. However, ESPN Philadelphia has the report of what went down in the Sixers’ free-agency pitch to their All-Star center:

The meeting started with Bynum and three members of his entourage arriving 25 minutes late, claiming to have gotten confused by the number of similar-looking parking lots in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex area. Bynum wore a salmon-colored Polo t-shirt and sandals with socks, as well as a pair of aviator sunglasses, which he politely declined to take off during the meeting.

First to talk at the meeting was Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie, who spoke to Bynum about the importance of taking the long view of things, and not to expect any kind of quick fixes with the team and their roster as currently constituted. He explained to the center that the team would probably not be ready to compete for a championship for another three to four years minimum, and that in the meantime, there would be a lot of losing. Bynum asked if that meant the team was hoping to sign him to a contract that would have him still on the roster at the point of the Sixers again being competitive. Hinkie responded by scolding him for “trying to rush the process.”

Next up were a number of special guests: Jeff Ruland, Chris Webber and Elton Brand, who preached to the center about Philadelphia 76ers history, and the team’s proud lineage of injured, past-their-prime big men. Ruland spoke fondly of seasons spent on the sideline at the Spectrum, laughing about his impression of Charles Barkley ordering a Breakfast Sampler at IHOP with teammate Scott Brooks. Webber recalled skipping Fan Appreciation Night with Allen Iverson at the Wachovia Center (“We heard about this party AI’s cousin was throwing at Drexel that night–SO many drunk college chicks”) in his last home game for the Sixers. Brand focused mostly on the subtle pleasures of getting amnestied, raving about how “they actually pay you go play for another team–sometimes one that’s actually good!”

Then came the pleas from Bynum’s Sixers teammates. First came Nick Young, who gave an emotional, surprisingly coherent-sounding remembrance of his and Bynum’s time as teammates, going off-road biking and making late-night trips to the Franklin Institute. Young even pulled up some pictures on his phone of he and Bynum posing with various different hairstyles and goofy-looking hats, including a black-and-white one of the two in sombreros and cartoonish mustaches, the memory of which made the pair crack up in hysterics. Bynum was clearly touched by the display, though he also seemed a bit surprised, claiming that he didn’t even know Young had been re-signed by the team. Young looked upset and confused at this, and started to say something to Sam Hinkie, before Hinkie quickly thanked him for his time and shuttled him out of the room.

After Young came Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes, who spoke to Bynum of the bright future they envisioned for the 76ers. The words “dynasty,” “big three” and “final piece” were mentioned, with Evan pulling up his 2012-13 Game Log on Basketball-Reference to show Bynum the stat lines from his one month of above-average play from the previous season, and Hawes citing that time Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski predicted pre-season that he would win Most Improved Player for the year. The two also reminded Bynum of the benefits of living in the Philadelphia market, explaining that it took them a good two seasons to come up with their ideal hoagie-and-sides orders at Wawa, but now they couldn’t imagine eating at any other convenience store. Before leaving, Turner and Hawes made Bynum promise that he would finally follow them on Twitter, though it remains unclear if Bynum even has a Twitter account.

Finally, the Sixers’ new head coach made his appearance. He gave an incredibly rousing, inspirational speech about the value of teamwork and the importance of building character, concluding by walking up to Bynum’s seat and saying “Now I can’t be the one who walks you through that door. All I can do is tell you that once you get to the other side, and look into my eyes, and the eyes of those 11 boys who’ll be standing there with you, you will know without a doubt, deep down in your heart, that you did the right thing.” The room erupted into applause, including a stunned-looking Bynum. Once he left the room, Bynum asked of his entourage if they had any clue who the coach was. None seemed to, nor did any of the media members or Sixers officials in the room, though a couple discussed the coach’s striking resemblance to actor Kyle Chandler.

After the meeting, Sixers president Josh Harris said that he thought the meeting “went well,” and that he was feeling “very positive” about the team’s chances of retaining their All-Star big man.

No official word yet about the Sixers’ offer to Bynum, or his response to their offer. Stay turned for further details.

  1. LAH - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    that was creative. not very funny but creative.

  2. Pete D - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Wow…fantastic job. AU, being the most positive guy around on the Sixers, you really skewered them here. Half of that stuff could have actually happened. Nice work.

  3. Steve - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    That sounded like the most pathetic attempt to re-sign an ego-maniacal douche of a center…I wouldn’t want to play here if that was the sales pitch to me. C-Webb and Elton Brand?…Really? Those are the 2 guys you get to talk about the rich history of the Sixers? Give me a break. The only way this was a good meeting was if they are trolling Bynum and are trying their best to push him away…Then it’s a good sales pitch.

    • IlliniGlory - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      Or if the entire “meeting” was just a joke…


    • Abe Lincoln - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Steve, If you thought this was a real scenario then you rode the short bus to school everyday. You most likely had to wear a helmet on the playground too. Moron.

    • andy - Jul 9, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      steve thinks his wife actually climaxes, he’s easily fooled

  4. John Brink - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Goddamnit, you have to make it more clear that its a joke. Nothing in the first three paragraphs would have made me think it was fake. You guys need to learn from Liberty Ballers a little if your gonna write Sixers comedy.

    • Owen Heart - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      I disagree. The uncertainty of the articles truth contributed to its “dry” humor. Not laugh out loud funny but entertaining as shit in my opinion. Certainly the first paragraph where he wouldn’t remove his sunglasses had me thinking he was probably high and his eyes were bloodshot, of course this is Unterberger playing on our perception of Bynum, who by the way, is a piece of shit. fuck him.

  5. Coderan - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    well considering there is no ESPN Philadelphia… try clicking that link

  6. Keysmark - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    That link was the funniest part!

  7. Will Rucker - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    So did they really have a meeting with Bynum I know this one was fake but did they have a meeting with him at all

    • Andrew Unterberger - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      No, and at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t. Seems like they’re moving on, and I doubt they’d be willing to match Cleveland’s offer anyway.

    • pourman - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Given that Hinkie referred to the trade for Bynum as “a disaster” in one of his first interviews, I doubt it.

  8. Enrico Campitelli Jr. - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    The “Big Three” line was quite nice.

    • 2sense - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      Yea the jig was up at mention of Jeff Ruland.

      Really funny piece, any single element could actually have been true.

    • nyphilsphan - Jul 9, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      The only part of that I believed was Hawes and ET trying to sell Bynum on Philly based solely on Wawa.

  9. Impressed - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    This was great. I might be the only one, but I definitely laughed out loud. Most entertaining Philly-sports article that I’ve read in a while (excepting the occasional, whiny, “The Sixers aren’t telling me anything,” rant by John Gonzalez over at CSNPhilly. Artfully done, and definitely well-executed!

  10. phillyroni - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Waste of cyberspace.

  11. mt44 - Jul 9, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    I would make him an offer. I would offer him hard dick and bubblegum and tell him I’m fresh out of bubblegum, p.o.s.!

  12. Matt S. - Jul 9, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Love the ESPN Philadelphia part.

  13. Ev - Jul 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    There is no way this is true. It seems like some guys fantasy. The coach part is great, who is that guy? Idk?

    • Ev - Jul 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      And the Nick Young part

  14. Aces-215 - Jul 9, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    This has got to be the worst sales pitch in the history of professional sports. Six scrub former/current players pleading was just a joke. Nick Young is not coming back so I don’t know why he’s pleading, Evan Turner n Hawes will not be on the roster when the team is ready to contend, and the other three former Sixers were disappointments just like Bynum was. I am praying we don’t sign Bynum to any contract greater than 1yr and from what I’ve seen from Hinkie thus far, he’s too smart to keep this scrub. Good luck Cleveland, yal gonna b scorn once again.

  15. hbgPhillyFan - Jul 9, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    So, what free agents are we pursuing? There aren’t many quality ones left.

    • Bob Smally - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      Why would we be pursuing any free agents? I think it’s pretty clear that we aren’t going to contend for a few years. Obviously the plan is to build through the draft. Getting a quality free agent would go against that plan.

  16. Geney Rosay - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    Nice to know that people are aware of Drexel. Go dragons!!!

  17. Chris - Jul 10, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    only thing missing was a Derrick Coleman reference…

  18. ronmitch - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    You kidding right?


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