Philadelphia 76ers introduce Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson

No real change: Andrew Bynum can increase activity but no return timetable


It’s another non-news update for Andrew Bynum. You think we all would be used to that by now, but Bynum himself had said a new MRI and meeting with a specialist afterwards on Thursday would give some direction to what was next.

That update is Bynum can start to increase his activity level, however there is no timetable for his return, Sixers GM Tony DiLeo told the (and other media) on Friday before the Sixers hosted the Hawks.

“His knees are healing. He is improving,” DiLeo said. “He has been approved to increase his activity level. Still there is no timetable. A lot depends on how Andrew reacts and his body reacts to the increased activity.”

DiLeo called it good news but admitted it is possible that Bynum doesn’t play a game this season for Philly.

Merry Christmas, Sixers fans.

What the latest MRI means rather than just swimming for conditioning he can start to ride a bike and do the elliptical machine. DiLeo called Friday’s news the first step of a six-step process to him playing again. Bynum might progress well through the steps but he is not close to getting back on the court right now.

Philly traded Andre Iguodala to get Bynum last summer as part of the Dwight Howard trade. It was a big-time move, going for what they thought could be a franchise-changing center to be a power big man in conference where a lot of teams (Miami, Boston) were going small.

But after a healthy season last year, Bynum’s knees are back to being trouble. And if there are any more setbacks, Bynum — who is a free agent next summer — looks like he could be franchise changing but not in the way the 76ers pictured.

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.