Thursday, April 28, 2011
Posted: 9:42 p.m.
By Dei Lynam
So many positive things happened for Doug Collins young team this season and yet the first discussion in the aftermath of making the Heat work tooth and nail to advance to round two centered on Andre Iguodalas future.
The matter is whether or not he wants to continue being a Sixer. He reiterated Thursday his sentiments from after Game 5.
I just want to compete for titles. We made a lot of strides this year and I think we are headed in the right direction, Iguodala said, answering the question without saying the organizations name.
Iguodala is asked this question often, which is interesting because other players under contract are never approached about the topic.
I think they like asking me that because they think I am going to trip up and say the wrong thing, Iguodala surmised. But obviously they dont know me too well.
We do know that Iguodala has three years remaining on his deal with the third being his option. We do know that his younger teammates looked to him and Elton Brand as their leaders and repeatedly said as much.
Thaddeus Young has an expiring contract come June 30, but when asked if he would like to come back to the organization that drafted him, his response left nothing for debate.
I love being here. I love this city and I love my teammates, Young said. Over the course of these past four years we have all built a bond, a great relationship. We are all like brothers now. Hopefully we can get something worked out where I can come back here and go at this again.
When Young says go at this again he means play a season that has the kind of growth this year did. He means participating in the playoffs and moving beyond the first round.
Young is not alone at wanting to go at this again. Jrue Holiday seconds his opinion.
I think Miami thought we were going to back down or like it was going to be a speed bump or a layover, the second-year point guard said. But we had them every game except the second. Every game could have gone either way. That is just the type of team we are. We fight, we lay it on the line and we give it our all.
We would always jump out on them. Yes, they would make a push, but we would always make it known we are here to play. One thing about our team, collectively we probably have the biggest heart in the league. We never backed down, we always fought, we always kept our heads up, which was great step from last year.
The Sixers have expiring contracts in Jason Kapono, Darius Songaila, Tony Battie and Antonio Daniels. Young and Spencer Hawes will likely be tenured qualifying offers, therefore allowing them to work on a new long-term deal with the Sixers or go out and test the market. The Sixers will have the right to match any offer from other teams. Jodie Meeks also has one year left at the teams option.
Assuming the key pieces do return and that a new collective bargaining agreement comes to fruition, Collins is looking forward to his next challenge.
I have always felt that people who were good leaders were constantly changing my comfort zone, Collins said. I relate it a lot to the game of golf. If you are a 10 handicap, how do you get to eight and how hard is it? That 10-handicapper will go out and be even par for five and then double-bogey a couple holes to get to his comfort zone, and I want our comfort zone to be raised.
Collins trusts the front office will make smart personnel moves in the offseason. He will come back next season hoping to get a few more wins. He would like to go from 26 to 29 at home and on the road the goal will be to get from 15 to 21. If the Sixers reach that goal they take the next step going from a .500 team to the elite level of 50 wins.
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