Philadelphia 76ers Must Lock Up Jrue Holiday to Avoid Overpaying Rising Star

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 17, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11:  Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers goes to the basket against J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

As the 2012-13 NBA season hastily approaches, very few teams have experienced as severe a culture shock as the Philadelphia 76ers. After trading franchise player Andre Iguodala and receiving All-Star center Andrew Bynum in return, the organization made it clear that they were headed in a new direction.

A direction that required their youth be locked up as they build around Bynum in the paint.

With this being known, a major hurdle approaches as the Sixers hope to keep their new-found core in tact. Next offseason, 22-year-old point guard Jrue Holiday will join a deep class of NBA free agents.

In order to protect the best interest of the team, it is imperative that the 76ers do not allow such to transpire. 

Should Holiday become a free agent, he would be available to receive contract offers from any team. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, that does not bode well for the Sixers, considering Holiday is in search of a max contract.

Sixers guard Jrue Holiday added to USA select team roster. Holiday also is seeking a max contract extension from Sixers, source tells Yahoo!

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 2, 2012

Per a report via, Holiday's agent was at the Wells Fargo Center discussing his client's future with the team. Whether or not this will lead to a max contract is unclear, but the early talks are encouraging ones.

For the Sixers' sake, let's all pray that this leads to a more reasonable agreement.


Point Guard is a Hot Commodity

If one thing has become clear over the past half-decade, it is that the point guard position has become the most sought-after position in the NBA. Although Jrue Holiday may not be the top name on the list of free agent point guards, he remains a name to consider.

He's just 22 years old and has great size for the position. He also has two postseason appearances under his belt and helped lead the Sixers to a near-upset of the Boston Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals.

With Andrew Bynum leading the way and a surplus of additional depth, the 76ers are a virtual lock to make the postseason once again. With even more experience behind him, Holiday can expect to see his stock rise.

In turn, his price tag will rise significantly, and the Sixers will be forced to overpay.


Lou Williams is Gone

During the 2011-12 NBA season, the Philadelphia 76ers had the luxury of putting forth two quality players who can run the point. Along with Holiday, the Sixers had Sixth Man of the Year candidate Lou Williams.

The same Lou Williams who led the team in scoring with 14.9 points per game.

That luxury has been lost, as Williams is now a member of the Atlanta Hawks. In turn, re-signing Holiday becomes extremely importance due to the fact that the Sixers are in store for a mid to late first-round draft choice in 2013 and beyond.

Unless they plan on gambling on Royal Ivey, it is Holiday or bust at the point guard position for the 76ers.


Hasn't Approached Elite

Through his first three years in the league, Holiday has posted career averages of 11.9 points, 5.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. Although solid, Holiday has never approached elite status at this stage in his career.

Yet another reason that the 76ers must lock him up before they overpay.

If Holiday receives a max contract offer from another team in free agency, the Sixers would be forced to match it or let him go. If they matched it, they'd be paying big-time money on a player who has yet to be consistently "big time."

Without early action, this team leaves themselves in a very vulnerable position. It is re-sign him before the offseason or face a severe overpayment.