The Los Angeles Lakers will face-off against the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time on Sunday since the four-team blockbuster trade went down in the off-season to send Dwight Howard to Los Angeles and Andrew Bynum to Los Angeles.
Ironically enough, roles are reversed coming into this matchup on Sunday in Philadelphia with Bynum having yet to play a game for the 76ers and Howard playing in all 24 thus far for the Lakers. The consensus was that Howard would miss considerable time with his new team heading into the 2012-13 NBA season while recovering from back surgery and Bynum would be ready to go for the season-opener.
Unfortunately for the 76ers, Bynum’s chronic knees problems have kept the one-time All-Star sidelined while making many fans in Philadelphia believe they may have gotten the short-end of the stick in this off-season blockbuster deal with the Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic.
Coming into Sunday’s game against the 76ers, Howard was asked about Bynum and the off-season trade via Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“I know what it feels like to be injured and not being able to help your team, but we have enough problems on our team that I need to put my focus on. I wish him the best and hopefully he gets healthy and he can stay healthy, but my focus is that I remain healthy and I get back to 100 percent and our team.”
Howard clearly didn’t want to talk about Bynum. When the guy with the goofy hairdo and unfortunate knees was first brought up, Howard rebuffed the subject matter, saying, “That has nothing to do with tonight’s game.”
Before Howard played a game in a Lakers uniform, the showdown with Bynum and the 76ers was one of the most anticipated of the season with the two All-Star centers going head-to-head for the first time since the trade. Both teams were thought to be considerably better as a result of the deal, but so far the Lakers have struggled while the 76ers continue to hang around .500 (12-11) without their new addition in the paint.