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News » Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2008-05-29

Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2008-05-29

Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2008-05-29
Andre Iguodala turned down a five-year, $57 million contract extension on opening day last season. He apparently thought he was worth closer to $65 million, which former Sixers president and general manager Billy King wisely declined to offer him.

Now, King has been replaced by Ed Stefanski, Iguodala is coming off an awful playoff series against the Pistons (.333 percent shooting, .143 percent on three-pointers, and 13.2-point average) and on the verge of becoming a restricted free agent.

The two sides plan to negotiate in hopes of reaching a long-term agreement. If they cannot do so, there are essentially two options: 1) opt for a one-year, $3.8 million qualifying offer to remain with the Sixers, which would allow him to become unrestricted in July 2009; 2) Stefanski can pursue a sign-and-trade deal involving Iguodala, with the idea of filling the team's biggest need (a power forward) in return.

"I think something will get done," Iguodala said. "(It not happening) is a possibility, but that's a very, very small chance. I think you've got to leave all your options open."

As for the one-year scenario, Iguodala said, "I think that's an option. Obviously, you leave every option open, even if it's far-fetched."

Stefanski has said he'd like to model the Sixers after the balanced Pistons, who have four very good players and no clear go-to-guy. He believes Iguodala qualifies at that level, if not as a star.

"Negotiations are negotiations, but Andre Iguodala is a very good basketball player and I know he's a guy we'd like to keep going forward here," Stefanski said.

"He is one of the reasons why we got to where we were," said Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks. "Without him, we wouldn't have gotten to (the postseason). And his first time being in the playoffs as the guy that they focus on was pretty tough."

Former Sixer Charles Barkley suggested Iguodala should go into the gym and shoot 500 to 1,000 jump shots a day over the summer. Detroit's Tayshaun Prince forced Iguodala to take mostly contested deep jumpers in the six-game series against the Pistons. The result was games of 4-for-15, 1-of-9, 2-for-9 and 4-of-16 from the field.

"I do that all the time anyway," Iguodala said. "It's just about repetition, becoming more and more comfortable within the game. When you're in the gym, you don't have two or three guys chasing you or have to shoot over 6-9 guys. At the same time, you've got to put the work in to keep developing."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Beating the NBA-leading Celtics 95-90 on March 24 in Beantown. That come-from-behind victory gave the young Sixers a big confidence boost in a month that also featured road wins over the Suns and Pistons as well as a home victory over the Spurs.

TURNING POINT: A five-game winning streak -- all at home -- going into the All-Star break got the Sixers started on a 19-5 stretch that turned them from a lottery team to a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. They dispatched three losing teams, the Wizards and the Mavericks to begin establishing a home-court advantage that produced 12 victories in 13 games at the Wachovia Center.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 29, 2008


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