With Jrue Holiday set to become a restricted free agent at season's end, the 76ers have been quietly at work trying to hammer out an extension with their point guard before the window to negotiate closes in six days. But as the deadline nears, reports are Holiday's camp has already turned down a significant offer from the club, and is apparently under the impression he could do better on the market.
According to Hoopsworld's Steve Kyler, who looked at various members of the NBA's 2009 Draft Class in similar situations, the $9 million per year the Sixers offered is "miles apart" from what Holiday believes he's worth. Given the availability of quality guards, or lack thereof, he could be right. Kyler explains:
Holiday and the 76ers have had numerous conversations about an extension; the problem is they are miles apart on a value. Sources close to the process say Holiday has been offered a deal in the $9 million per year rang and his camp has turned that away. The belief is that with so few impact guards available in free agency and the way money was thrown around this summer that if Jrue can make the big jump the 76ers expect he can get his free agent value significantly higher than $9 million per season. The 76ers will issue a Qualifying Offer in July if they cannot reach a deal this week, so they’ll have the chance to match anything Jrue is offered, so unless the 76ers radically increase their offer, Jrue is headed through free agency and the 76ers might have to risk a guard starved team throwing a killer offer his way and being forced to match.
This would seem to fall in line with previous reports as far back as July indicating Holiday is looking for the "max contract extension" from the organization. While he won't get that in Philadelphia, clearly Holiday and his agent are banking on somebody being willing to pay top dollar for the 22 year old's services, even if the Sixers are not there yet.
Of course, as Kyler points out, the Sixers would have the opportunity to match any offer that comes in next summer, so it's perfectly logical to take a wait-and-see approach before showering Holiday with big bucks. While he's shown flashes, Holiday is also "miles apart" from the ranks of the elite point guards in the NBA at this point. Should he take another step forward this year, you could see the front office wanting to reward him with a huge contract.
There are a lot more variables down that route, too, such as another organization overpaying -- what Holiday is hoping for -- but given the timing, it seems to make sense for the Sixers to keep their options open right now rather than jump into a huge commitment.