posted on Jul, 17 2003 @ 08:27 AM
Kenny Thomas wants the ball more, but that doesn't mean he plans to shoot it all the time.
The six-foot-seven forward signed a seven-year contract to remain with the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. The deal reportedly is worth more than $40
In his fourth season in the NBA, Thomas emerged as a solid rebounder, averaging 8.5 boards in 46 games with the Sixers after being acquired from
Houston in a three-team deal last December. He was one of Philadelphia's best players in the playoffs, averaging 10.6 points and a team-high 9.3
But Thomas said he made it clear to Sixers president Billy King that he doesn't want to simply be a rebounding specialist.
"I know AI (Allen Iverson) is going to be taking all the shots and I can live with that. He's an all-star," Thomas said. "I'm the type of player, once
I get the ball, I don't have to shoot. I'm a great passer. I find my teammates open. And, I can score, too."
Thomas said he told new coach Randy Ayers that he preferred to get the ball at the top of the key so he can drive either to his left or right.
"They always tell me I have a quick first step," Thomas said.
The Sixers also signed former Atlanta forward/centre Amal McCaskill on Wednesday. The six-foot-11 McCaskill averaged one point and two rebounds in 11
games with the Hawks last season.
Thomas, who was a restricted free agent, posted double figures in points and rebounds nine times in a 10-game stretch late last season and five more
times in the playoffs.
He has averaged 9.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in his four-year career. In the deal that brought him to Philadelphia, reserves Mark Bryant, Art Long and
a future first-round pick went to Denver, and James Posey went to Houston from the Nuggets.
King said re-signing Thomas was the team's top off-season priority.
Now Philadelphia must focus its attention on finding a starting centre. Todd MacCulloch is unlikely to play this season because of a genetic disorder.
Derrick Coleman, who played center in MacCulloch's absence, is an unrestricted free agent.
McCaskill, who has played in just 55 games in the NBA since he was drafted by Orlando in the second round in 1996, isn't considered more than a
King had breakfast with Coleman on Wednesday morning, and planned to speak to his agent later. He is hopeful the 13-year veteran will stay in
Coleman, a favourite of former Sixers coach Larry Brown, averaged 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in 64 games last season. He averaged 13.6 points and 8.0
rebounds in the playoffs, including 16.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in a second-round series against Detroit.
"He said he loves the fans, loves his teammates and loves playing in Philadelphia," King said. "He wants to be part of the 76ers."