Andrew Bynum gets quite a welcome in Philly

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Andrew Bynum gets quite a welcome in Philly

From Comcast SportsNet
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- He heard the roar from hundreds of Philadelphia 76ers fans chanting "An-drew By-num! An-drew By-num!" the moment he stepped into the National Constitution Center. Andrew Bynum instantly felt at home in Philadelphia. He enjoyed his first days in the city so much, Bynum made it clear he wouldn't mind playing in that No. 33 Sixers jersey for more than a season. "My first experiences here have been so great," Bynum said, "I'm really leaning toward making this my home. With that proclamation, Sixers fans erupted. The superstar the organization and their fans craved since Allen Iverson split actually loved them back. Imagine the sounds he'll hear after some clutch fourth-quarter buckets over a deep playoff run. Wearing a Sixers T-shirt, Bynum made his first appearance Wednesday since he was acquired last week from the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a four-team megadeal. Former Philadelphia All-Star Andre Iguodala landed in Denver and Orlando shipped Dwight Howard to the Lakers as part of the trades. The Sixers scrapped the usual ho-hum press conference and turned Bynum's arrival into a full-blown pep rally that included moving the location from their arena to just a few hundred feet away from the Liberty Bell. The event was open to the public and fans arrived early to greet Bynum and Jason Richardson -- and plunk down 30 bucks for some hot-off-the-presses Bynum T-shirts. "It makes me super-excited," said Bynum, who never stopped smiling. The Sixers have every reason to feel giddy over this deal and what this means for the long-term future of the franchise. For years, Philadelphia has been mired in the middle of the Eastern Conference, only busting out last season under new ownership to advance to the second round for the first time in nine years. But the glow of that achievement soon faded once management realized the team had maxed out with veterans Iguodala, Elton Brand, and Lou Williams. Iguodala was traded, Brand was amnestied and Williams was allowed to walk in free-agency, freeing up some needed dollars to make a move this big. Bynum is the All-Star, the franchise player, expected to soon help the Sixers win their first championship since 1983. Only 24, the New Jersey native won two championships with the Lakers. But in Los Angeles, the offense ran through Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Bynum is The Man for the Sixers. "Obviously, there's a lot of pressure," Bynum said. "I want to be ready for it." Consider this: Until last week, Kwame Brown was listed as Philadelphia's starting center. That's called an upgrade. But once the hoopla and "Beat L.A.!" chants quieted down, two questions loomed in the building that honors the U.S. Constitution: Would Bynum put his John Hancock on a possible-five year contract extension; and how will his achy knees respond to treatment next month in Germany? Bynum is set to make 16.1 million this season in the final year of his deal. If he waits until after the season, Bynum can sign a five-year deal worth nearly 102 million. No other team could offer Bynum as many years or as much money. "I enjoy Philly, I'm from here, I don't see anything wrong," Bynum said. "I don't see any problem why I wouldn't want to stay here." Bynum is set to have injections of plasma-rich platelets that supposedly stimulate healing in arthritis-affected areas in both of his knees. Bryant, his former teammate, has credited the therapy with dramatic improvement in his own troublesome right knees and an injured left ankle. Sixers president Rod Thorn said Bynum and his surgically repaired knees checked out fine after a lengthy physical on Tuesday. "You've got to take calculated risks sometimes," Thorn said. "Players of his level don't come on the market every day." Bynum is coming off his best NBA season after averaging career highs with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds while making his first All-Star team, starting for the West. He was the NBA's third-leading rebounder and 20th-leading scorer, while also ranking sixth in the league with 1.93 blocked shots per game. Bynum also avoided the injuries that have dogged him throughout a seven-year career since the Lakers made the New Jersey high schooler the youngest player ever drafted in 2005. Bynum played in 60 of the Lakers' 66 regular-season games, missing four due to suspension. Ah yes, that suspension. Bynum may be the best center in the East, but he brings a touch of baggage that shouldered him with a reputation as being a handful, as well as a monster rebounder. He was busted three years ago partying at the Playboy Mansion posing with a girl on his shoulders during his rehab from a torn knee ligament. Bynum served a four-game suspension this season for his vicious fouls against J.J. Barea in the Lakers' final playoff game last spring. He's has declined to participate in certain team huddles, sitting down the bench by himself. He once slapped hands with opposing fans while taking a long time to leave the court after he was ejected from a game last season in Houston. "I think somewhere along the line, maybe he said a couple of immature things here and there, but everybody has," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "I'm sure he'd be the first one step up and say, Hey, I messed up.' The unfortunate thing in life, when you make a mistake like that, it's one video replay from living it again." The Sixers would prefer more replays of Bynum's 30-rebound game like he had last season against San Antonio. Except for some minor tinkering with the deep bench players, the Sixers should be finished with their roster overhaul. They added Bynum, Richardson, Brown, Royal Ivey, Dorell Wright and Nick Young to a team counting on returners Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young to help make that second-round exit the start of something big, not a one-season wonder. With one season left on his deal, Thorn is still calling the shots, even as the organization spent the summer interviewing general manager candidates. Thorn will remain with the team next season as a consultant and the Sixers would like to have a succession plan in place. "That will happen over the next year but it's going to depend on who we can to terms with and who's out there," owner Joshua Harris said. "There's nothing imminent right now. Rod's still the GM of the team." Thorn drafted Michael Jordan in Chicago. He's the executive who traded for Jason Kidd in New Jersey and turned the Nets into winners. His boldest move with the Sixers is his best one yet.

NBA: Cousins didn't foul Wade on late missed dunk; Kings center responds

NBA: Cousins didn't foul Wade on late missed dunk; Kings center responds

A day later, the NBA confirmed what most people in the United Center felt.

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins didn't foul Bulls guard Dwyane Wade on a dunk attempt with 12.8 seconds remaining in Saturday night's game, the league announced in its Last Two Minute report on Sunday.

The NBA deemed it an "incorrect call" and issued the following comment:

"Cousins (SAC) has his hand on Wade's (CHI) back while he is airborne, but he does not extend his arm and push him and the contact does not affect the shot attempt."

Shortly after the NBA put out their report, Cousins offered his take on their ruling:

"Yeah thanks the team feels so much better now that it's cleared up!" Cousins wrote on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

During the game on Saturday, Cousins couldn't believe he had been called for a foul. After the game, which the Kings lost 102-99, the team kept the doors to the locker room closed for a lengthy period of time. When the media was finally allowed in, Cousins had calmed down.

"They made the absolute right call. Incredible job by the referee crew tonight. I don't have a complaint in the world. They should get more recognition on how well they ref these games. They don't get the credit they deserve, so kudos to them. I applaud them," Cousins said after the game.

49ers' Smith, Raiders' Williams not among Walter Payton Man of the Year finalists

49ers' Smith, Raiders' Williams not among Walter Payton Man of the Year finalists

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Panthers tight end Greg Olsen are the three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

Fitzgerald, one of the top receivers in the league, has made grants of more than one million dollars for the "First Down Fund."

The fund promotes reading and technology access for kids from kindergarten through 12th grade as well as supports efforts to prevent and cure breast cancer and support breast cancer survivors. 

Also, the fund makes grants to the American Cancer Society as well as breast cancer organizations based in Arizona and Minnesota, for activities such as education, support groups, and free mammograms. 

Fitzgerald was a finalist in 2012.

Olsen founded "Receptions for Research" after watching his mother deal with breast cancer in 2009.

The foundation’s program focuses on cancer research, support and education programming.

The program has distributed more than $520,000 to six hospitals and foundations.

The program’s most notable and largest fundraiser, Kicks for a Cure, has raised over $850,000 in its eight year history.

Olsen was previously nominated in 2015.

Manning is a two-time Super Bowl winner. He supports "Tackle Kids Cancer" at the Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center. Their research team gives patients access to more than 100 cutting-edge clinical trials to combat pediatric cancer.

Manning has volunteered for the "Tackle Kids Cancer" campaign since the start of the 2015 season and has visited the Children’s Cancer Institute.

Manning was previously nominated from 2007-2013 and was a finalist in 2015.

The winner will be announced the week of the Super Bowl in Houston.