With a quizzical look on his
face, Josh Harris tried to understand the question being lobbed his way. And find a way to answer it. The query was
about Andrew Bynum, so Harris had to approach this one delicately.
Harris was being asked whether
there was anything the Sixers could reclaim from the Bynum situation, the one
in which they spent $16.5 million for zero minutes played from the big man.
“Sunk cost,” Harris said. “That’s
all sunk cost.”
In business-speak, that’s
money a business will never get back. Harris and new general manager Sam Hinkie spoke
at length about Bynum, their unrestricted free agent center, at Hinkie’s
introductory press conference Tuesday at PCOM. And whether they can hope to get anything from him next season.
Mainly, the conversation
hovered around the Sixers’ involvement with Bynum this offseason.
Hinkie, an analytics guy, is
all about the process by which decisions are made as opposed to the outcome of
those decisions. Calculated risks sometimes backfire. But if the process is
employed, taking into account traditional basketball know-how plus
beyond-the-box-score logic and other related metrics, they’re almost viewed as
acceptable losses, Hinkie said.
That’s why Hinkie lauded Harris for his approach to the Bynum trade, and his willingness to say he'd make the trade again if given the chance. Hinkie didn’t rule
out ending the Sixers’ relationship with Bynum.
Bynum, 25, missed the entire
season with bilateral bone bruises in both knees and underwent season-ending
surgery in March. The Sixers own Bynum’s Bird rights, which means they can sign
him for more years and more money than any other team in the league. That,
Hinkie said, makes Bynum appealing.
“I don’t think there’s anything
else to be said about the trade,” Hinkie said. “I suspect this makes me boring,
but I think of Andrew like the thousands of other young men walking around the
world that are unrestricted free agents that have the potential to play NBA
basketball, and he is one of those. I am duty-bound to consider and look at
Andrew has only two differences, in my mind: One, there is this period, because
he was under contract here, there’s an exclusive negotiating period. That’s
different than everyone else in the world – whether they’re wonderful players
or can’t play at all. And two, I think the Sixers should have – I got here
three hours ago – an enormous information advantage, based on all the
information in-house. My first duty is to get up to speed on that information.”
To Harris, a numbers guy,
Bynum was a load on the Sixers’ salary cap. That being said, could signing
Bynum for 2013-14 and attempting to get something out of him be viewed as a
make-good on a bust of a trade?
“We’re looking at this purely
incrementally going forward,” he said. “What are the assets we can bring to the
table relative to the cost per win? If you look at it, we spent $84 million
last year. We were 27th in cost per win, out of 30 (teams). That’s not good.
You look at that and they say, ‘Is our decision-making process (working)?’ I’m
a pretty simple guy. … We’re in the bottom decile, hence we have a new GM.”
Labels: Andrew Bynum, Josh Harris, offseason, Sam Hinkie