(Sports Network) - Two of the principals involved in this past summer's
blockbuster trade will meet in their season-opener when the Denver Nuggets
visit the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Nuggets and Sixers were part of the huge, four-team deal that sent Arron
Afflalo from Denver to the Orlando Magic, Andre Iguodala from Philadelphia to
the Nuggets, Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers to the 76ers and Dwight
Howard from Orlando to the Lakers.
So Iguodala will still begin his season in Philadelphia, where he spent all
eight years of his career. The difference is, he'll be wearing the powder blue
of the Nuggets.
The trade was finalized while Iguodala was in London representing Team USA at
"I'm in warmups, and I'm thinking 'Where am I going to move? Who's going to
send my stuff back? Who's moving with me? When do we play Philly? I can't wait
to play them,'" Iguodala told CBS Sports' Matt Moore.
Last season was a spectacular one for Iguodala. He made his first All-Star
team, swished two free-throws with almost no time on the clock to guide the
No. 8 seed Sixers past the top-seeded Chicago Bulls, led Philly to Game 7 of
the Eastern Conference semifinals, made the Olympic team, then got traded.
Now, Iguodala anchors a well-balanced Nuggets team. Ty Lawson, who just signed
a four-year extension with the team, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Andre
Miller, JaVale McGee, Kosta Koufos and Wilson Chandler will all contribute to
this deep, up-tempo team. Gallinari is a game-time decision with a sprained
On his way out of the City of Brotherly Love, Iguodala took a jab at former
coach, Doug Collins.
"I haven't really enjoyed basketball a whole lot the last couple of years,"
Iguodala told Moore. "Last year was a big year for us, but it was just
draining for the criticism to be there every single day."
Collins didn't take the bait.
"Dre is going to want to come in here and play great, he's going to want to
come in here and win," Collins told the Philadelphia Daily News. "Every time
Denver comes in here and plays, I'm sure he's going to want to win and, on the
other hand, we're going to try to beat Denver. It's not going to be that we're
going to try to beat Dre. We're going to try to beat the Nuggets, and Dre is a
huge part of that."
It's not Collins' way to respond to semi-controversial comments with added
rhetoric. And Collins has plenty of things about his own team to worry about.
Bynum barely saw the court in the preseason with a right knee injury and he
will miss Wednesday's tilt. He is the cornerstone of the Sixers (assuming they
re-sign him in the offseason), so Philadelphia is being cautious.
There is talent on the Sixers outside Bynum. Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday are
up-and-comers and the bench, a source of strength for the Sixers in recent
years, remains strong. The team went 6-1 in the preseason without Bynum.
Denver snapped a three-game losing streak to the 76ers with a 108-104,
overtime victory in Philadelphia last season. That was the only meeting
between the two in the shortened 2011-12 campaign. The Nuggets have won six of
their last nine in Philadelphia.
The Sports Network