Andre Iguodala has always been one of the more criticized players in Philadelphia 76ers history. Not only does he get all the spotlight because he likes having the ball in his hands, but his exorbitant contract doesn't match his on-court production.
A lot of the heat Iguodala takes from the media is unjustified, but a large chunk of it is. There seem to be trade rumors swirling around No. 9 every single year, but 2012 feels different. I can sense the smell of "refreshing change" in the air.
There is no doubt that Iguodala is one of the NBA's better defenders and players altogether, but what I doubt is his usefulness to the 76ers in 2012, which is why I think he should be traded to a team that desperately needs a small forward—the L.A. Lakers, for example.
Here are five reasons Andre should and will be traded this offseason.
Why would he do that?
If you are a Sixers fan and you aren't often frustrated by Andre Iguodala's ridiculous fade-away and trick shots, then I am simply at a loss for words. His shot selection is so perplexing at times that I wonder how the Sixers manage to score more than 70 points per game.
And don't even get me started on his embarrassing free-throw shooting in the Boston series—I mean, are you kidding me?
He shot better from beyond the arc (53.8 percent) than he did from the charity stripe (48.6 percent). Shaquille O'Neal, the worst free-throw shooter in the league's history, had a better career percentage than Iggy did in the playoffs.
Iguodala is a good perimeter defender; I get that. But after a good defensive series against Luol Deng and the Bulls, Iggy had trouble against Celtics leader Paul Pierce. Pierce averaged over 17 points per game and scored over 20 points three times.
Iguodala, conversely, only averaged 13.7 PPG in that series while reaching the 20-point mark zero times.
So he may be a good defender, but it's not like that makes up for dumb possessions and low offensive efficiency. And it's not like he's the greatest defender that ever lived—as some of my fellow Sixers fans make him out to be.
The 76ers made it clear to the fanbase and Iguodala himself that their small forward of the future doesn't have the initials "A.I." His name is Moe Harkless.
Why would Rod Thorn and Doug Collins—both of whom say they like Iguodala—draft a small forward with a lot of talent the very same year they have trades on the table regarding Andre. Coincidence? I think not—whatever the Sixers might publicly say.
Even Andre has these thoughts in the back of his mind. He sold his house in Philly! What more evidence does one need?
Andre Iguodala is arguably around the 40th best player in the NBA—which is actually quite respectable—yet he gets paid like he's a top-20, marquee man.
Here are just a few players who get paid less than Iggy: James Harden, Manu Ginobili, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose and Kevin Love.
If the Sixers were to deal Iguodala for someone who gets paid a little bit less and fits their needs more, the ten-plus million dollars would be much more useful to new owner Josh Harris and his partners.
When considering a trade involving one of your best players, what you get in return is the most important part. It doesn't matter where he's going or how much he's being paid—though that is somewhat important—but how the trade will help your team.
Right now, Iguodala's league-wide trade value is at an all-time high.
Iguodala's best season was definitely not 2011, but the rest of the league doesn't necessarily know that. All they see is a reigning Eastern Conference All-Star member who is among the 18 finalists to make the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.
Names that have come up include Josh Smith, Pau Gasol and Andrea Bargnani—that deal might even include a draft pick. All three would help solve problems that include rebounding, interior help defense and low-post scoring.
Why not take that respect to the bank?
The Philadelphia 76ers have failed over and over to groom young guys. Why? Because they don't give them opportunities and they stay too loyal to veterans—see Nikola Vucevic, Evan Turner and Marreese Speights for good examples.
Sixers fans need to understand one thing before they criticize people who endorse an Iguodala trade: Taking one year of struggles and growth is worth it in the long run.
I'd be perfectly happy to watch a 32-50 team that features rookies or young guys starting at every position, because the Sixers will finally be giving their draft picks a chance to develop.
Starting Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Moe Harkless, Arnett Moultrie and Nik Vucevic together for an entire season might bring a lot of tallies in the loss column, but it would build chemistry within a nice, talented young core that could carry the Sixers to stardom in the next five or six years.
Why keep starting veterans who've reached their ceilings as NBA players? All Andre will do in 2012 is hinder the youngsters' progress—especially Harkless and Turner—while delivering yet another disappointing first-round exit from the postseason.
Ask yourself: Would you rather see 10 more years of mediocrity or one year of development and a couple years of prosperity? The latter sounds pretty good to me.
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