Josh Harris and the 76ers aren’t closing the door on Andrew Bynum.
Harris, the Sixers’ managing owner, said Thursday that the team is “going to look to bring Andrew back” next season despite Bynum not playing in 2012-13 — while earning $16.5 million — due to bone bruises on both knees.
“A healthy Bynum is a needle mover, a top 15 player,” said Harris one day after the end of a disappointing 34-48 season. “We’re going to weigh the positives and the negatives and try to make a reasoned assessment about what’s appropriate for Andrew. Certainly, we’re open to the prospect of bringing him back.”
Pressed on the matter, Harris responded, “I’m not saying we’re going to bring him back. I’m saying we haven’t ruled it out. Bringing Andrew back is an important risk that we’re not ignoring.”
Bynum, a 7-foot center who hasn’t talked to the media since March 1, becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, when any of the league’s 30 teams could potentially sign him. All interested teams, including the Sixers, will want detailed information about his knees — particularly the degenerative condition — to decide if it’s worth offering him a contract.
“That’s kind of a tricky situation,” said Jrue Holiday. “Andrew might be the best ‘big’ in the league if he’s healthy. That’s tough to pass up. If Andrew came back and was healthy, I’d be excited, for sure, as a point guard.”
While Harris, who made his money as a leveraged buyout specialist, admitted the ROI (Return On Investment) with Bynum and the Sixers wasn’t so good this year and they “don’t have a lot to show” for a payroll of $84 million, he said “if I had to make that decision again, I’d make it again” to trade for Bynum.