MILWAUKEE - With the NBA's Feb. 18 trade deadline approaching, the rumors have been circulating around 76ers swingman Andre Iguodala.
A source close to the situation has confirmed that the Houston Rockets, owners of Tracy McGrady's expiring $23 million contract, will only discuss a possible deal with the Sixers if it involves Iguodala. And about a week ago, ESPN.com linked Iguodala in a possible deal involving the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After this season, Iguodala has more than $56 million remaining on his contract, including three more seasons - and a player option for a fourth.
Iguodala once was thought to be the centerpiece of a young Sixers nucleus. Now his situation mirrors that of the rest of the roster: The team is willing to negotiate about the former untouchable.
Before last night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Iguodala said: "Nothing is a surprise when you're 15-29."
"Nobody wants to be on the losing end, but when you are on the losing end, you have to make changes," said Iguodala, who entered the contest averaging 17.6 points per game.
"I wouldn't be surprised [to be traded], but this is my job, so I just go out and try to be professional every day instead of worrying why they're trying to trade me versus someone else, being bitter about it."
Last season, Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski stayed firm at the trading deadline, saying he wanted to protect his young nucleus, that no deal made sense long-term.
"I think we had a decent year last year, we got to the playoffs, we had some success, especially late in the year," said Iguodala, who is in his sixth season with the Sixers.
"We haven't had that same type of success, so you start to wonder what it looks like in the future. Do you want to stay the same or do you want to change? So you never know what the front office might be thinking."
His hero. Milwaukee rookie point guard Brandon Jennings, whose childhood idol was Sixers guard Allen Iverson, started last night's game matched up against Sixers rookie Jrue Holiday. When asked to comment about Jennings' potential nerves while playing on the same court with Iverson, Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said he should make Iverson guard Jennings, "so he can stay nervous."
"No, he's not going to be nervous, he's going to be sky-high," Jordan said of Jennings, who was averaging 17.7 points and 6.3 assists a game entering the contest. "Jennings is going to prove he belongs in the NBA, he's going to try to prove he's an Allen Iverson, a big difference-maker."
No comment. Jordan was asked about the situation involving Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, who was suspended without pay for the season yesterday after he admitted bringing guns into the locker room.
Jordan coached for five-plus seasons with the Wizards. He declined to comment.
"I don't have any thoughts about it - you know, I'm so concerned about what we're trying to do here," Jordan said. "I wish him the best."