Everything in Philadelphia comes back to Andrew Bynum. Even Jrue Holiday's future.
Like Bynum, Holiday is slated to explore the open market this summer, though, unlike the big man, he's only a restricted free agent, meaning the 76ers can match any offer sheet he signs.
However, the 76ers do have the ability to try and work out an extension with the 22-year-old prior to July, thereby ensuring he doesn't have the opportunity to test the waters while also potentially locking him up at a discount.
And according to John Finger of CSNPHILLY.com, that's exactly what the team is attempting to do:
With the deadline to sign players to an extension quickly approaching, a source says the talks between the Sixers and representatives for point guard Jrue Holiday have picked up slightly.The Sixers have until Oct. 31 to come to terms on an extension for Holiday. If the two sides do not agree on terms for an extension, the Sixers can make a qualifying offer to Holiday for $3.776 million. But if Holiday does not take the qualifying offer from the Sixers, it means he could be a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Let's just for a minute assume that the Sixers are able to lock up Holiday. What exactly does that mean for Bynum's future in the city of Brotherly Love?
Like Ty Lawson of the Denver Nuggets, Holiday is eligible to receive a maximum offer worth somewhere in the four-year, $52 million range from another team, which is definitely a potential reality that has to factor into the decision-making for both parties.
Though it's unlikely the point guard commands that much—courtesy of a free agent market laden with point guards from the 2009 draft—the Sixers could wind up signing him to a hefty pact now, avoiding the potential blizzard that can be restricted free agency this summer.
And while overpaying him could make Philadelphia even the slightest bit leery of investing nine-figures in Bynum come July, signing Holiday only increases the importance of retaining the team's newest big man.
Does it really? Without a doubt.
I understand the Sixers also have Spencer Hawes and the ever prolific Kwame Brown—kidding—but Bynum compresses defenses in ways every center not named Dwight Howard can't.
Enter Holiday's new contract.
As John Mitchell of The Inquirer acknowledges, of all the current members of Philadelphia's squad, he has the most to gain from Bynum's continued presence:
However, the one benefit that Holiday has over all of the aforementioned guys is the addition of a big man in Andrew Bynum who can potentially do wonders for Holiday’s game and his stats. Holiday should be getting more open looks at the basket when the big man draws the double team. I also think that this is a season in which Holiday can become an assists monster. Holiday averaged 6.5 assists, a career high, during the 2010-11 season. Why can’t he hand out at least two more (minimum) now with the weapons the Sixers have added?
Without Andre Iguodala to lean on, Philadelphia desperately needs a primary facilitator to emerge, and Holiday is the best candidate. Not only will he be able to run the pick-and-roll to perfection with Bynum, but his 13.5 points per game average stands to greatly increase courtesy of porous defenses.
Yes, Bynum's presence down low will work wonders for shooters like Nick Young as well, but think of the assists Holiday will rack up dumping it off to said shooters if his center is double-teamed from the offensive set's inception.
Big men that create those kinds of opportunities are rarities, hence Philadelphia's willingness to trade a perimeter cornerstone in exchange for Bynum's services. So, why would the Sixers let Bynum walk after they sign a point guard whose success and development as a potential star, is predicated on him capitalizing off of a sizable post presence? Why would they show him the door when he provides Holiday with one of the league's best pick-and-roll partners?
They wouldn't, and they won't.
Because if the Sixers can strike an accord with Holiday now, it guarantees they will iron out one with Bynum later.
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