PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Andre Iguodala's next contract will have to wait until the summer.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Iguodala failed to reach a contract extension by the Oct. 31 deadline that could have extended the rising star up to five more seasons after this one. Now, Iguodala and the Sixers must wait until July 1 to reopen negotiations, at which point Philadelphia will hold a right of first refusal on any offer from another team.
``We were close, but we could not close the final gap,'' Sixers president Billy King said in an e-mail shortly after the midnight deadline. ``I felt we had great discussions on Sunday in person. Unfortunately, we could not get it done.''
King met personally with Iguodala's agent, Rob Pelinka, to try and broker a deal for the fourth-year swingman. Iguodala, who scored 23 points in Philadelphia's season-opening 106-97 loss at Toronto. said during training camp that he wants to remain with the team that made him the ninth overall pick in the 2004 draft.
``This is where I want to be,'' Iguodala said in October. ``If it happens, then great. If it doesn't, I've still got to go out and play ball.''
Iguodala's game rose like one of his flashy dunks last season once the Sixers traded Allen Iverson, and he averaged a career-best 18.2 points. He played in all 82 games his first two years in the league and 76 last season. King wrote he did not expect the broken-off contract talks to affect the laid-back Iguodala's performance.
``Andre throughout the negotiations said the talks would not stop him from going out and playing hard for the fans of Philadelphia,'' King said. ``His play tonight proves that.''
Iguodala appears poised to break through into an All-Star, even though the Sixers are widely picked to finish last in the Eastern Conference. King has positioned the Sixers into a three-year rebuilding plan and keeping Iguodala is a big part of a process that he hopes has the franchise contending in the East by the end of the decade.
``Signing him next summer is priority number one,'' King said.
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