Why Lou Williams Opting out May Force Sixers to Trade Andre Iguodala

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJune 19, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 01:  Louis Williams #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers smiles near the end of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Bulls during the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 1, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The 76ers defeated the Bulls 109-92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers have been rumored to deal forward Andre Iguodala for a couple of years now, and this may be the year they finally pull the trigger on a deal.

There will be a market for Iguodala, who is coming off his first All-Star selection—the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors have been among the teams linked to him—but the Sixers' hand may be forced now that Lou Williams has opted out of his contract.

Williams opting out of his deal does not guarantee a return to Philadelphia. He was due $6.39 million this year and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

However, the Sixers now have an advantage. They can offer the seven-year pro a five-year deal, where the rest of the league can only offer Williams a four-year contract.

However, to do that and make the necessary improvements for 2013, it may result in trading Iguodala.

Currently, the Sixers sit at a little over $50 million on the books for next season, with Iguodala making $14.7 million of that. In addition, he's also set to earn $15.9 million in 2014.

Using the amnesty clause on Elton Brand's $18.16 million for 2013 could also be an option, but Brand's deal comes off the books at the end of the 2013 campaign, and the Sixers would still have to pay him anyway, so that may not be the best option.

Williams proved his value in the playoffs, coming off the bench to average 11.3 points per game and often carrying the inept Philadelphia offense through stretches at a time.

He averaged a career-high 14.9 points per game during the 2012 season, which led the Philadelphia team.

For a team that only scored 93.6 points per game (22nd in NBA) during the regular season and only 85.7 points during the postseason, the Sixers can't afford to watch their leading scorer walk away.

That means that an Iguodala trade is more likely now than it ever has been before.

Moving him for a couple of parts and a chance to move up into the lottery makes sense for the Sixers going forward.

Losing Iguodala's defensive ability and the intangibles he brings to a team is a concern, but Evan Turner brings a lot of those same qualities, and a Doug Collins coached team will be tough on the defensive end regardless.

Bringing Williams back and potentially adding another volume scorer in the draft seems like the more attractive option right now, which means after a couple of years' worth of rumors, we could finally see Iguodala in a different uniform.