The Philadelphia Inquiror and Phillynews.com both broke their vow of silence on Sixers news today with dueling pieces on Andre Iguodala. Andre was invited to scrimmage with the U.S. national team in what is viewed as a move toward getting potential team 2012 members into the flow of things ahead of time.
It’s good to see Andre acknowledged for his progress this past season. Which brings me to the next part of the story, Andre’s payday. The Sixers have a window which opened on July 1 and will close on October 31st in which they can sign Iguodala to an extension. The extension would take effect for the 2008–2009 season, and would probably lock him down for 4 or 5 years beyond that. This should be priority number one for the Sixers, and they need to get it done ASAP.
The article quotes a source as saying the extension could be in the neighborhood of $13–$14M/year to start, with increases of about 10% per year. I would bet good money that this source is Andre’s agent. That number sounds high to me. The huge advantage to extending Iguodala now is that he shouldn’t command a max contract. Personally, I think they should get it done now. If he ever hits the open market, he will get a max deal, and he will deserve it. If you can sign him to a 5–year, $60M extension you’ll have a top-ten player locked down through the 2012–2013 season at a reasonable price ($63M for 6 years). This is the type of deal Rashard Lewis should’ve gotten, and reasonably would’ve gotten had the Magic not bid against themselves.
I believe Iguodala is a better player than Lewis right now. Lewis is a perimeter player, who doesn’t take advantage of his size and isn’t nearly the passer Andre is, but his offensive game is more polished than Iguodala’s. Two years down the road, when Andre’s rookie contract expires (the Sixers have him under contract for 07–08 at $2.8M and then he’s a restricted free agent in 08–09, with the Sixers having the right to match any offer) it won’t even be close.
He’s on the precipice of greatness, sign him now before he gets to the point where signing him will limit your options in free agency to build around him. If you need some convincing, check out this mix.