Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Why sign Igoudala to an extension now?

In today's Sixers Notes, Marc Narducci shares with us the information that Andre Igoudala says he's not too concerned with his ongoing contract negotiations--his agent is taking care of it, and he's just going to play basketball.

This brief snippet leads to two comments:

(1) Good for Igoudala. You aren't supposed to let your play be affected by ongoing contract negotiations, especially when you're still under contract for another two years. I always get annoyed when I hear about Player X possibly being a distraction because of unhappiness over contract negotiations, so it's nice to see (or, at least hear) a player doing (saying) the right things.

(2) What's the hurry to sign Igoudala to an extension right now? He's under contract for this coming season and the Sixers own his rights for next season. As long as they make a qualifying offer ($3.8 million), the Sixers will have the right to match any offers that he receives next summer. As we've seen this summer with Anderson Varejao, there aren't necessarily that many teams out there willing to make offers to restricted free agents, even very good ones. If the number being bandied around for Igoudala's contract extension is $12 million per year (based on the contract Kevin Martin recently received from Sacramento), then I think the Sixers owe it to themselves to take a bit more time to evaluate Igoudala before tying up a substantial portion of their salary cap space with his contract. I made the case earlier this summer that Igoudala is more likely to be the 3rd best player on a legitimate title contender than to be the cornerstone of a contender. I stand by that claim, but for $12 million/year he would need to be more like the cornerstone that pundits describe him as. Maybe I'm wrong, but shouldn't the Sixers at least wait until after he's been the centerpiece of the team for a full season before making that decision? Like I said at the start--what's the hurry?


Louis said...

Resigning Igoudala to a long-term deal could be part of an overall plan to show that the Sixers, like the Celtics, are serious about building a better team. The Mets got better quickly over the last three years because they offered went out and spend on the players they wanted. By spending on one guy and making him happy he can then become a recruiting tool and proof that the team in serious about winning right now. Very few top-flight players want to go to a team that has no prospects for winning. They want a team that backs-up its talk about having a strong franchise with the dollars to keep good pieces around. If Igoudala is our best player right now, then we need him to be fixed to the roster and happy to draw in the more talented players that will take us from playoff-hopefuls to championship contenders.

Sam Cohen said...

Unlike in baseball, teams in the NBA are much more constrained in the amount of money they can offer players because of the salary cap. That said, I still don't see how signing Igoudala now would help with player recruitment. There aren't any more big name players to sign this year, so I don't see how waiting until next summer to sign him would be inconsistent with what you're saying. More importantly, the Sixers will have more money to throw at free agents next year if they try and sign them first, and then sign Igoudala to his new contract (since you can go over the salary cap to sign your own players).