PHILADELPHIA -- Not too long ago, the 76ers couldn't wait to
get rid of Derrick Coleman. Now, he's getting a chance to finish
his career in Philadelphia.
Coleman re-signed with the 76ers on Tuesday, getting a
three-year contract worth up to $13.5 million. The 36-year-old
Coleman played well last season after moving from power forward to
center, finishing with an average of 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in
64 games, including 35 starts.
In 13 NBA seasons, Coleman has averaged 17.0 points and 9.5
"I haven't been on a team where I've been around a bunch of
good guys," Coleman said. "My teammates and I all get along and
that's hard to find in sports. I enjoy the guys. I enjoy being in
Philadelphia. I didn't want to go anywhere else."
Selected by New Jersey with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990
NBA Draft, Coleman never fully lived up to his potential and was
viewed as an underachieving malcontent for most of his career.
He was traded to Philadelphia in 1995 as part of the deal that
sent Shawn Bradley to the Nets, and spent three controversial,
injury-plagued seasons with the 76ers. After the 1997-98 season,
Philadelphia bought out the final year of Coleman's contract for
$5.57 million, rather than pay him $13 million for his fourth year.
But even though he was vilified by 76ers fans and former team
president Pat Croce, Coleman became a favorite of former coach
Larry Brown while they were together for one season.
Coleman signed a five-year, $40 million deal with Charlotte in
1998, but feuded with coach Paul Silas and was traded back to
Philadelphia before the 2001-02 season.
Croce, who vowed he'd never let Coleman wear a 76ers uniform
again, resigned two months before Brown reacquired Coleman in
In his second stint with the 76ers, Coleman has become a team
leader and a consistent performer. He averaged 15.1 points and 8.8
rebounds two years ago, and was perhaps Philadelphia's most
consistent player in the playoffs last season, averaging 13.6
points and 8.0 rebounds.
"Derrick was a big part of our success last year. Having him
back to go with everything else we've done this summer puts us in
good shape," 76ers president Billy King said.
Since losing to Detroit in six games in the second round of the
playoffs, the 76ers have made several changes. Brown resigned after
six seasons and took over as coach of the Pistons. Randy Ayers was
promoted from assistant to replace Brown.
Forward Keith Van Horn was traded earlier this month in a
four-team trade that brought Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson and Marc
Jackson to Philadelphia.
"We've got guys that command double-teams now and that'll open
things up for other guys," Ayers said. "Derrick knows how to play
and that's what I love about him. He allows you to do other things
on the floor."
Coleman moved to center last season after Todd MacCulloch was
sidelined by a genetic disorder. He hopes the acquisition of
Jackson will allow him to spend more time at his natural forward