Given their early six-game road trip, the start of the 2012-13 Cleveland Cavaliers season would've been rough in the best of circumstances. These have not been the best of circumstances.
- Kyrie Irving: out four weeks with a broken finger.
- Tristan Thompson: broken face.
- Tyler Zeller: broken face.
- Byron Scott benched a clearly-pressing CJ Miles, as if taking away his playing time will help calm him down.
- Omri Casspi and Luke Walton have been on the court in non-garbage time situations.
- Multiple Cavaliers came down with the flu over the course of their road trip and Anderson Varejao missed a game after bumping knees with Ryan Hollins.
- The bench.
Oh, there have been some bright spots, namely Dion Waiters torching the Clippers for 28 points, but they have been few and far between. You can only get so excited about a team with a record of 2-8.
That deal could've looked like this:
But the Cavaliers could have (and probably did) offer Varejao, our 2013 first round pick, unprotected, the Sacramento pick, and the Heat's 2015 pick, and took on Turkoglu's deal. Better first round picks, a better player, and more salary cap relief
I don't know about anyone else, but I was all on board the Bynum trade:
You don't say, "no, I'll pass on the 2nd best center in the NBA, too risky"— Ben Cox (@BenCox83) July 14, 2012
Imagine if that trade had gone through.....
How would you view the Cavs' if both of their star players were wearing suits this early into the season?
How would you think Coach Byron would've handled Bynum? Poorly or very poorly?
Assuming there wasn't any pressing Browns uniform news, Cleveland talk radio would be hammering Bynum his bowling injuries. And the national media would be killing Dan Gilbert helping Howard go to a big market to create a SUPERTEAM.
What about spending all of your assets on an injury prone knucklehead? That'd have been fun.
And while us Cavs fans are spending our time complaining about a terrible, no good, very bad bench, Sixer fans are pondering much darker scenarios:
The issue now is what the organization should do going forward. Neither you nor I have any idea whether or not Andrew will play this season. I still have a few shreds of optimism left that make me think he'll be back by February, but they're hanging by a thread.
If we assume that Bynum does take the court come February and finish out a respectable year for the Sixers (maybe a playoff win or two), then I don't think there's any question about signing him to a max contract. Everything in the NBA is a risk and if Andrew can prove he's healthy enough to play, there is absolutely no excuse to let him walk. Unless the relationship between Drew and the Sixers gets worse (could it?), I don't think they'd let a mostly healthy, mostly happy Bynum leave freely.
By missing out on the Bynum deal, the Cavs didn't just dodge a bullet, they dodged a goddamned cannonball. Had the trade gone through, like a good fan, I totally would've talked myself into Bynum. Even with all his baggage, the Cavs, simply by residing in Cleveland, have to take risks to add a major talent. If you have the chance to give Kyrie Irving an All-Star center, you do it. Always. But I'm not shedding tears over that missed opportunity.
As bad as things are in the land of Cleve, at least the Cavs have options. Sure, Cavs fans are debating whether or not to trade Anderson Varejao (My take: it all depends on the deal. Loads of stuff from OKC? Sure! Mediocre crap from Denver? Pass.) but at least there's some semblance of hope. The Cavs have moves to be made and draft picks on the horizon.
But the Sixers? I do not envy the situation in which Philly fans currently find themselves. They're stuck hoping Andrew Bynum can both mature and stay healthy. Good luck with that. It's possible it can happen. It's also possible the whole thing implodes and Bynum signs elsewhere this summer, leaving the Sixers with nothing to show for him.
So be thankful, Cavs fans. While Kyrie's latest injury has pushed up the draft talk by more than a few months, at least we're not stuck watching Hedo Turkoglu hoist terrible jumpers while Kyrie and Bynum look on from the bench.
Things could've been much worse.