The Philadelphia 76ers have a very big decision to make regarding center Andrew Bynum that will impact the team for the considerable future.
Over the summer, General Manager Tony DiLeo entered the blockbuster Orlando-Los Angeles deal and made a potential franchise changing deal by trading star-shooting guard Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets and acquiring Lakers all-star center Bynum in return.
Sensing that the team was one player away, DiLeo's decision was a no-brainer.
But it hasn't worked out so far. Bynum has not played a single minute this season, and the Sixers have underachieved.
Bynum is in the last year of his contract, and he will be looking to become one of the highest paid big men in the game. Coming off his best year a season ago, where he averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds, re-signing him made sense.
But questions remain about his durability. In his eight-year career, he has only played one complete season, and has missed significant time due to injuries in each year. There is also a growing chance that he won't play a single game this season. Throughout his career, and potentially for the rest of it, his knee will be a question that will hover over him and the franchise that he is playing for.
This brings up the most important decision that Philadelphia will have to make since trading franchise icon Allen Iverson: Should the team roll the dice and re-sign their often injured problem child, or let him walk and have him potentially become a franchise player elsewhere?
There are many reasons why the team should let him go. The first is his questionable knee, after a countless series of surgeries and setbacks. Bynum is also known to be a headache on and off the court. He had the well-known incident of viciously cheap-shooting Dallas guard J.J. Barea in the playoffs, and he has trouble keeping his cool after calls don't go his way. There have also been reports of him clashing with former coaches Phil Jackson and Mike Brown and with his superstar teammate Kobe Bryant.
While these are valid reasons why they shouldn't re-sign Bynum, I still believe that they should ink the big man to a contract. It is a risk, as big as his 7-foot, 285-pound frame, but it's a risk worth taking. He has drastically improved every year he's been in the league and became arguably the second best center in the game, behind Howard.
He is a proven winner, being a key piece in the recent championship success of the Lakers, and his attitude issues stemmed from him outgrowing his role as the second banana to Kobe. That issue will subside as Philadelphia will give him the opportunity to be the central star.
(The writer is a student at Penn State Altoona.)
Ganter true company man
Neil Rudel wrote a great column on Fran Ganter (Sunday, March 3). I agree totally with everything he wrote.
I remember a few years ago having a friend call me who was a Washington Redskin fan. They were trying to remember a Redskin player who played linebacker at Penn State and was a pretty good player with the Redskins.
They knew he was kind of an undersized player who did well. None of us could come up with the right answer so I called the Penn State athletic department and was fortunate enough to talk with Fran.
He right away identified that player as Rich Milot. I called my friend back and gave him the answer, and he was not only happy to end the frustration but thought I was well connected. I got a good laugh out of that one.
If there ever was an example of the company man it would be Fran Ganter as Rudel pointed out in the article. Let's hope Fran might reconsider the interview someday or at least write a book.
New respect for professional wrestling
Am I the only person who didn't know that professional wrestling is all staged?
I've always disliked the sport, thinking that it was barbaric and inhumane. I was baffled by the fans who supported such an awful sport. Who wants to watch someone get beat up for fun?
Recently this myth has been dispelled for me. Professional wrestling is more like an extended fight scene in a movie. The winner is predetermined, and moves are choreographed so that the contestants do not get seriously hurt.
Sure, they really do take some punches, but they are not really as powerful as they seem. The spectacle is punctuated with the addition of blood capsules to further add to the drama. Through a combination of illusions and theatrics, we are tricked into believing these people are getting seriously wounded.
Some of the moves, if attempted by amateurs without extensive training, could kill or permanently injure, which is why these athletes work so hard to get the moves right. Sometimes a move can go wrong resulting in a real injury.
In 1997, "Stone Cold'' Steven Austin was scripted to win a match, but when he misjudged a move and was temporarily paralyzed, his opponent dragged Austin on top of him so that Austin could win the match as planned.
These men are merely performers intent on putting on a good show for their attentive audience. I have new respect for them since it takes more than muscles to be a professional wrestler.
(The writer is a student at Penn State Altoona.)