Philadelphia fans aren't known for their patience to begin with, and after a hellish sports year like the city just suffered through, any remaining particles of patience are quickly dissipating. So, while the fan base was at least understanding of the organization's initial plan of not rushing Andrew into action, that understanding has given way to anger as the Sixers struggle and four months into the season, Bynum has yet to log a single second.
In other years the spotlight may not be so squarely centered on Andrew and his ailing knees, but after serious let-down seasons from the Phillies and the Eagles, Philly fans are searching for anything uplifting; such as the sight of a dominant center suiting up for the Sixers.
|Bynum riding stationary bike at PCOM|
And boy, has he disappointed. Rather than lifting up the spirits of the Philly faithful and providing a sign of hope, Bynum has instead become yet another piece to lament in a long line of Philadelphia franchise failures this year.
See, arguably Andrew's biggest issue since he has been in Philly is the perception of toughness, or lack thereof, that he has portrayed. Just as Philadelphia fans aren't known for their patience, which Andrew is already trying, they are equally as known for valuing toughness. One reason that Allen Iverson will always be revered in Philadelphia is because the fans appreciated the level of intensity, effort, and toughness which with he played the game.
Although maybe unfairly, fans are already looking at Andrew's continuously delayed return from a knee injury in which he was originally expected to return from months ago, and labeling the center as "soft," or saying he doesn't have the toughness it takes, mentally and physically, to take a team to the title.
So before ever even actually suiting up for the Sixers, Andrew has dug himself a deep hole with Philly fans, who are not known for being especially forgiving. At this point I don't see the fan base fully embracing Bynum for anything short of a championship, and let's be honest, if he can't even get himself out on the court, is he going to be able to lead an otherwise mediocre team to a title? Doubtful, to say the least.
This summer, the Sixers have a decision to make about Bynum; since he has already soured on fans and doesn't seem to be able to get his ass out on the court, it doesn't seem sensible to keep him around any longer, especially not for the money that he will be seeking.
If the Sixers could trade Bynum and get some sort of value in return than that is a route that may be worth looking into. However, with the trade deadline coming up quickly such a scenario is doubtful.
Instead, as Phil Sheridan of the Inquirer suggests, it is time for the Sixers to thank Andrew for his "services," and go in a different, healthier, direction.