In the past week, sources have reported that the Philadelphia 76ers are interested in moving injured C Andrew Bynum in order to have a healthy big man on the floor. While GM Tony DiLeo denied that they have had talks about trading Bynum, who has yet to see action in a Sixers’ uniform, there is quite a possibility that there could be several suitors. Bynum is an especially attractive trade target because he is a free agent at season’s end, which could free up a ton of cap space.
Conveniently enough, these Bynum reports have come on the heels of a recently released interview with Minnesota Timberwolves’ F Kevin Love, in which Love criticized Wolves’ GM David Kahn for his personnel decisions as well as his choice to only sign Love to a four-year contract extension instead of the maximum salary five-year deal. Love was also quoted as saying that he feels the Timberwolves want to build a team around PG Ricky Rubio, giving some the impression that Love may not see himself in the fold for much longer.
Is there a link between these two stories? As of right now, no. However, that doesn’t mean that things can’t change, especially when this could seem to make a lot of sense for both franchises. If the 76ers were to make a move for Love, they would be able to trade Bynum, more expiring contracts of players like F Dorell Wright or Gs Nick Young or Jason Richardson, while also including a draft pick or two. In return, Philadelphia would acquire Love, and maybe take a bad contract like F Andrei Kirilenko off Minnesota’s hands. In turn, I believe each team would acquire what they want.
If Love is correct, and the Timberwolves want to build a team around Rubio, this trade would allow them to have one of the best centers in the league if Bynum were to get healthy. If Bynum were to not play this year, it wouldn’t matter because his large expiring contract would help free up space for Minnesota to pursue free agents this off season, such as Fs Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala, and David West, or Cs Al Jefferson and Chris Kaman. It would give the Timberwolves a lot of flexibility moving forward, which is crucial to building a strong young team.
On the other side of the ball would be Love in a Sixers uniform, giving the team the big man it needs that is already signed for three more seasons. Love is one of the best at rebounding the ball in the NBA, which is just what Philadelphia needs. The ability for Love to shoot the three-point shot is crucial as well, as the Sixers would be able to stretch the floor. Overall, Love is a much better fit than Bynum because he is a much better athlete and would be able to maintain the style of play that the 76ers are accustomed to.
Whether or not this trade happens remains to be seen, and while it is all speculation now, it sure could make a lot of sense for both teams in the long run.