For some, being with one NBA team for seven seasons and then being shipped across the country might have led to some negative reaction. And for some that might find themselves in that spot with one year left on their contract, they might relish the opportunity to have a big year in hopes to land a big deal somewhere else the very next year.
Andrew Bynum apparently doesn’t fall in either of those categories. Last week’s big trade sent the 24-year-0ld center from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Philadelphia 76ers, but not only is Bynum happy about the move, he’s now also on the record as saying that he plans to make his stay in Philly at least as long as the one he had in L.A.
Andrew Bynum joined 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia with Jon Marks and Brian Baldinger to discuss his welcome party in Philadelphia, why he plans to stay for a long time, why he wants to get a long-term deal done soon with the 76ers, how close Philadelphia is to putting everything together, taking on more responsibility as the man in Philadelphia, and if his best basketball is still ahead of him.
You seem happy to be here in Philadelphia:
“It’s exciting for me, man. It’s an amazing opportunity. There’s a lot of fans out here. … I really didn’t [have expectations]. Once they told me it was in the Constitution Center, I knew something was up. This is a big deal. When I walked in, I didn’t know it would be like that.”
The fans want you here long-term and you basically said right away you want to make this your home:
“Exactly. I’m looking forward to being here. I don’t like to jump around, jump ship, a lot. I was with the Lakers for seven years. I want to be here for that or even longer.”
Do you wait to talk long-term contracts or get it done ASAP?:
“I want to just get it out of the way. I feel like I can make this my home.”
With all the new parts, how soon do you think this organization can bring it all together?:
“We definitely have a lot of new parts, but the good thing about this year is we have a lot of time. Training camp, we didn’t have last year, so a lot of that’s going to be ironed out inside that. I think we’re deep. We’ve got a lot of good guys, good backups at every single position.”
Are you ready to be “the man” in a city like Philadelphia?:
“Definitely. It’s got a lot of pressure on it, there’s no question about that. But I’m definitely ready to be that guy. I think, for me, it’s just the next step in my career. I really feel that. I really feel like being in control of the team is just something that’s an amazing opportunity for me.”
Do you still believe an NBA team can build its team around a center?:
“Definitely. Every good team has had a center that’s one. There’s no doubt about it. People go back to Bulls, Jordan and Pippen, but they still had Cartwright, who was a defensive animal and getting rebounds and one of the best pick-and-roll defenders the league’s ever seen. You always need a good big and you need to have a great four … that’s super aggressive and can do everything. … I think we have that here.”
When Kobe Bryant went down this past season, did you feel like it was your role to step up?:
“To be honest, what really happened I think was just the team kind of had more confidence in me when he was out. In turn, you just get a lot of opportunities and I was able to do good things with it. Playing with Pau is a huge help because normally they can’t double- or triple-team.”
You’re only 24. Is your best basketball still ahead of you?:
“I’ve got a lot of things to learn and going into this opportunity, I’m going to have a lot more opportunity to make mistakes and play through things and learn. I’m definitely still at the base. The foundation is sturdy right now and I can build up from there.”