The Forest Surrounding Andre Iguodala's Tree

Philadelphia really needed to keep Andre Iguodala at just about all costs, both in order to contend for a title and to avoid another season of "Willie Green, NBA starter." The money's high, but the 76ers hardly had better options. If Iguodala was planning on holding out for $80 million, well Molly just pay the man.

Of course, contracts don't get signed inside a vacuum. (That'd be awesome, though! I'd have a use for my astronaut pen.) In looking at the greater landscape, we can assess how much milk Philly got for its salt. The following graph shows each Class of '04 product whom signed a contract (this summer or last) in excess of $50 million. Average salary is shown in green. We descend from Dwight Howard at $15.8 million to Andris Biedrins at $10.5 million. The players' 2007-08 PER adjoins and is shown in (a pitiful approximation of) the players' team colors.

Iguodala received the second richest contract in this class. But based on 2007-08, four players who signed a smaller deal -- Al Jefferson, Kevin Martin, Josh Smith and Biedrins -- are as good as or better than Iguodala. In other words, the Sixers didn't get great value for Iguodala. Consider that Martin is a measure better and will make $11.5 million less over the next five years. Smith is two years younger than 'Dala, basically even on production today, and will make $10 million less over the next six years.

It's worth noting that the two best values among the Class of '04 elite -- Jefferson and Martin -- were signed last summer. So much for the unassailable power teams supposedly have in restricted free agency.

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