Holiday says he hopes to be a Sixer for life

The 76ers' Jrue Holiday says winning means more, but he wants a maximum pact nevertheless. RON CORTES / Staff
The 76ers' Jrue Holiday says winning means more, but he wants a maximum pact nevertheless. RON CORTES / Staff
Posted: September 28, 2012

With the advent of social media, NBA offseasons have become a never-ending stream of tweets and blog postings, some noteworthy, others not so much.

Fans of the 76ers were surprised by an early July tweet by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, reporting that Sixers guard Jrue Holiday was seeking a maximum-salary contract. It came with very little context, but suffice to say it resonated cryptically for followers of the Sixers.

Entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, Holiday addressed the issue for the first time Wednesday after a workout at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He did not speak in the tone of a player who was trying to get out of town. Actually, Holiday said his goal is to be a Sixer for the rest of his career.

"For sure, as a player you want to set that standard, and obviously for me that's the standard for myself that I want to set," said Holiday, 22. "That's the type of player that I want to be. I want to be seen as that type [of max-contract] player. But I'm not really worried about it; that's not the type of player that I am, honestly. I'm not really a money man. I'd rather get the wins."

The Sixers can offer Holiday a contract extension this season, when he is slated to make more than $2.6 million. They also have the option of waiting until next summer, when Holiday can become an unrestricted free agent. A maximum contract for Holiday would start at about $13 million in the first year and escalate each season.

After Holiday posted career-best numbers across the board in the 2010-11 season (14.0 points, 6.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game, 44.6 field goal shooting), he saw those numbers decline (13.5, 4.5, 3.3, 43.2) in 2011-12.

But Holiday sounds more like a guy who is excited about the season as opposed to a player who will let contract matters be an issue.

He enjoyed playing into the second round of the playoffs last season. And even though just five players are returning from that Sixers team, Holiday cannot hide his exuberance about this season.

"They did big things," Holiday said of the front office's moves, the biggest being the acquisition of center Andrew Bynum. "Half the team is gone, so that was definitely a power move. However it happened, we did what we had to do to get the top big [man] in the league, which is awesome for us."

Holiday acknowledged that departed players such as Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, and Lou Williams will not be easy to replace. But bringing in Bynum, a two-time all-star who last season averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks, adds elements to the team's arsenal that simply were not there last season.

"We are going to be a better rebounding team right away with the changes we made," Holiday said. "Last year we had to battle to win the rebound battle. It's comforting to know that it will be easier this year. And I'm not taking anything away from the bigs last season, but there was no defensive presence down there like Bynum last year."

Holiday said that the changes made by the front office should help him to improve statistically.

"For me, the type of style that our team will play, they are helping me do what I do best," he said.

Holiday knows the Sixers' history. And he clearly wants to continue to be a part of it for a long time.

"The city is great," Holiday said. "You can go back to A.I. [Allen Iverson], Charles Barkley and Dr. J.; the city gives you a boost. When basketball is on point here I don't know of any place that is better."


Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com, or follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer. Read his blog, "Deep Sixer," at www.philly.com/deepsixer

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