Keith Glass clearly believes Royal Ivey is worth more than $959,111 to an NBA team.

That's what Ivey was scheduled to earn as the veteran's minimum with the 76ers next season.

That's what Ivey walked away from yesterday, declining the player option on the second leg of his contract.

"This was really the plan all along," said Glass, Ivey's agent. "The player option was my idea, to ensure Royal against injury. Now, the plan is to get him a contract that more accurately reflects his contributions to a team. This has nothing to do with the Sixers, because he'd like to go back with them. From our standpoint, this is very amicable; we plan to speak with them after July 1."

Glass said Ivey's contract originally called for him to make a decision by July 2, the day after NBA teams can begin speaking with free agents. That date was moved to yesterday.

"The contract I have says June 15, and I didn't want to get caught in a technicality," Glass said.

Ivey, 27, known for his defense and an ability to fill in at both backcourt positions, appeared in 71 games this season, averaging 3.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in 12.1 minutes; he had 36 steals against 23 turnovers, the sixth-best steal-to-turnover ratio in the league.

Whether Glass can find a contract for Ivey above the veteran's minimum, or one with multiple seasons, remains to be seen.

"It probably sounds strange for us to be doing this, but it's me," Glass said. "The only risk would be is if no one wants to sign him." *

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