Injured Philadelphia 76er Bynum walks past a teammate before the start of the NBA basketball game between the 76ers and the Toronto Raptors in Philadelphia

Andrew Bynum says he expects to play this year but right now feels pain walking


Andrew Bynum spoke with the media again and… Sixers fans, I’m sorry. I wish things were different.

The guy Philly wants to build a franchise around remains out indefinitely. If you want the optimistic view, Bynum said he fully expects to play this season. He is going to get another MRI on December 20 and if the doctor says its okay he could “ramp it up,” which I guess means increase his conditioning, get out on the practice floor and being ready to go soon. That MRI will be key. Bynum said he thinks the worst-case scenario is another month after that.

But it’s kind of hard to be optimistic about Bynum right now. Especially with some of these other quotes, via

““I feel pain walking around, so it’d be silly to go out and start playing basketball right away (once cleared) because it’s just going to get worse,” Bynum said, noting that the swelling in his right knee is gone. “If this was the Finals and we have a chance to win, I’d be able to play. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? But why risk anything when you have time to come back and be 100 percent?…

“It’s arthritis in the knees and the cartilage is missing,” he said. “It’s not going to regrow itself.”

So, who wants to give Bynum a big contract this summer when he is a free agent?

Bynum said the pressure to get back out on the court comes from himself and that he fully expects to play this season. He also said his left knee is the one that is bothering him (the right one is the one he tweaked again bowling, that seems to be improving).

The optimistic view is we will know a lot more after the MRI Dec. 20 and then we can start making Christmas plans for Bynum. The reality is if it hurts to walk we are a ways away from seeing Bynum in a Sixers uniform on the court.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.