I sat on my porch Tuesday afternoon watching the Philadelphia 76ers take on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the 1983 NBA Finals, which turned into a four-game sweep for the Sixers and mass hysteria in the city. I watched the domination of Moses Malone underneath and how he was able to go toe-to-toe with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and it made me miss the fact that the 76ers did not have a presence underneath the basket.
Two days later, there I was, finding out on a hot summer afternoon that Andrew Bynum was likely coming to the city of Brotherly Love. Today, 76ers fans waited no more: Bynum is on his way to the city. After years of heartache and painstaking waiting in a search for a big man, I finally have a big man to root for. I've tried my best with Elton Brand and Chris Webber, but they weren't meant to be. Maybe the third time is the charm.
I know Bynum has had his fair share of injury problems, and both of those guys did too, but this is different. Webber and Brand were long established veterans when they joined the Sixers, but this has a different feel. Bynum will turn 25 a couple of days before Opening Night, oddly enough, against the Denver Nuggets, whom the 76ers dealt Andre Iguodala to in this trade to help bring a big man to Philadelphia. It's a price to pay for a chance at a championship, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like each team involved in one of these big-time moves did well for themselves. I don't think this is one David Stern will have to turn down.
What is more astonishing is that the 76ers are being overlooked in the trade by many, with plenty of the coverage going to Howard. Many are even wondering how the Sixers got Bynum and not Orlando. To be honest, I couldn't tell you either. Yes, the Sixers also gave up Nik Vucevic, this year's first-round pick Moe Harkless, and a future first round pick, but they got a potential stud center in return to roam the paint. They also rid themselves of Iguodala's contract for this season, and actually will save some money under the cap by acquiring Bynum. For the Sixers, it was a no-brainer to acquire Bynum and get rid of Iguodala, as the team has enough wing talent to cover them for the year in Dorell Wright and Nick Young.
Even if weeks ago Philadelphia did not seem to be a destination for players to want to come to, it is now. Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young now have a seven foot behemoth to protect them in the paint, a guy who will trade elbows with the best of them, and rebound the basketball with the best of them. Forgive me for feeling so excited, but it's a great day to be a 76er fan.
The Lakers obviously get their man in Howard after a long wait, but the Sixers got theirs too. Last year, Bynum averaged 16.7 PPG and 11.8 RPG en route to an All-Star selection. Many now think the Sixers have the best center in the Eastern Conference. I agree.
Obviously, the intention would be to sign Bynum as soon as possible, and that's an easy move to advocate. That said, the contract extension is something to think about for the future. For now, it's easy to think about what just happened: the Philadelphia 76ers just placed themselves back on the relevancy map in the NBA.
Sources: NBA.com, Yahoo! Sports/Adrian Wojnarowski
Victor Filoromo is a featured contributor for Yahoo! and also contributes to PhuturePhillies.com, a Phillies' prospect blog. He grew up just outside of Philadelphia, and enjoys Philadelphia sports, media, and politics. You can follow him on Twitter @victorfiloromo.