PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Andre Iguodala, who helped the Philadelphia 76ers reach the playoffs for the first time in three years, was rewarded Monday with the official announcement of a six-year contract worth a reported $80 million.
``We felt like he had a very good track record to warrant a contract like that,'' Sixers president Ed Stefanski said. ``We think he's got the upside to become an even better player than he is today.''
The 24-year-old swingman could have played this season under the terms of a one-year, $3.8 million qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next year. When Philadelphia signed forward Elton Brand away from the Los Angeles Clippers, it became evident that keeping Iguodala was vital.
``We clearly wanted Andre in a Sixers uniform,'' Stefanski said.
Iguodala was the ninth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He averaged 19.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.1 steals in 82 games last season. But he struggled against the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the playoffs, averaging only 13.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as the Sixers were eliminated in six games.
Over his four-year career, Iguodala has been quite durable, playing in 322 of 328 games while averaging 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists.
``I think a lot of guys kind of relax when they get their money,'' Iguodala said. ``They're like, 'I got my money. Maybe I don't have to be as hungry.' My mind-set is to work just as hard as I always have if not harder every day to prove myself.''
Iguodala was surrounded by many double teams in the playoff series against the Pistons. With the addition of a marquee player like Brand, he is expected to have more open looks at the basket.
``I've been working on my shooting every day,'' Iguodala said. ``I'm not satisfied by any means.''
He said he is happy with the contract, especially considering the fact that he turned down a reported $57 million offered at the start of last season.
``People thought I was crazy,'' Iguodala said. ``I put pressure on myself and I feel like that's the most pressure a player can have. My No. 1 goal was to come back.''
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