Potential Landing Spots for Free Agent Andre Iguodala During 2013 Offseason
Andre Iguodala has only spent one season in a Denver Nuggets uniform, but it's already time to start talking about where he could end up next.
He might don the Powder Blue once more in 2013-14, although he could also use his early termination option and become an unrestricted free agent. There are myriad possibilities here, and we're about to go through them.
Of course, the Nuggets made Iggy's decision even more interesting when they decided not to bring back George Karl. Now the vacancy at head coach could allow even more doubt to enter into the equation, as pointed out by B/R's Ethan Norof:
Andre Iguodala's offseason decision to opt in or out with #Nuggets just got a whole lot more interesting.
— Ethan Norof (@Mr_Norof) June 6, 2013
Iggy has the ability to make this free-agent class a good deal stronger, as he'd join Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Andrew Bynum and Al Jefferson as one of the truly elite players available on the open market.
Once there, he'd have six potential landing spots.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are most assuredly a team on the rise.
With Kyrie Irving establishing himself as one of the most promising point guards in the league, Dion Waiters displaying more and more of his potential as his rookie season progressed and Tristan Thompson expanding his range during his second professional run-through, things are looking up in Cleveland.
Add in Anderson Varejao, who will presumably be healthy in 2013-14, as well as the No. 1 draft pick, and they start looking better still.
What the Cavs are missing is a veteran presence who can also function as a well-rounded glue guy. That's where Andre Iguodala enters the picture.
The swingman is a versatile player capable of making important contributions on both ends of the court. Only Tony Allen plays better perimeter defense, and Iggy consistently affects game in a variety of ways when the ball is in his possession.
He's exactly the kind of player that Cleveland needs in order to push the squad to the next level. With him wearing the wine-colored jersey, the Cavs could make the Eastern Conference playoffs with room to spare.
A five-man unit of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Andre Iguodala, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao is quite intriguing.
It's hard to find a bigger contrast at shooting guard than the one presented by O.J. Mayo and Andre Iguodala.
While Mayo is a gunner first and foremost, Iggy is the consummate professional, a man who values the success of his team above any sort of numbers. He also plays defense.
During the 2012-13 season, Mayo allowed opposing shooting guards to post a 14.9 PER against him, according to 82games.com. Meanwhile, Iggy's opponents at the 2 were only able to muster up a 12.7 PER. When Iguodala played small forward, which he did less than ever, that number dropped to a sensational 9.9.
Swapping one for the other would go a long way toward shoring up the Dallas Mavericks' defense, one that allowed 106.5 points per 100 possessions during the 2012-13 season, which was good for 19th in the NBA. Since Mayo is expected to opt out of his contract and seek more than the $4 million he's owed, that's a distinct possibility.
Adding this swingman would also take some of the pressure off Mark Cuban when it comes to finding a premier point guard. Darren Collison clearly wasn't the answer, and it remains unlikely that Chris Paul signs with the Mavs.
Given his ability to handle the ball and run an offense, Iguodala enables Dallas to view finding a long-term point guard as more of a secondary concern.
Returning to the Denver Nuggets is both the most likely and the best scenario for Andre Iguodala, and he could do so in one of two ways.
If he chooses not to opt out of his contract, he'll remain on the books for the 2013-14 season before hitting free agency. And even if he forgoes the $16 million he's owed, he could just re-up with the Nuggets, signing a long-term contract that guarantees him a workable salary well into the future.
Either way, I'd bet on Iggy suiting up in powder blue well into the future. He's a perfect fit for the team, and his defensive contributions and versatile offense help make the Nuggets true contenders.
That's the realm of teams Denver found itself in during 2012-13. If it weren't for Danilo Gallinari's faulty ACL, the Nuggets could have advanced out of the Western Conference with a legitimate shot at taking down the Miami Heat. However, the injury did occur, leaving the Nuggets ripe for an upset, and the Golden State Warriors took full advantage.
Gallo will be back in 2013-14, and the bevy of young players on the roster will be even better. Kenneth Faried is constantly improving, and Ty Lawson finally started to look like a truly elite floor general.
If Iguodala returns, he's both making a lot of money and playing for a bona fide title contender. What's not to like?
Of all the possibilities in this article, the Detroit Pistons are the least likely.
Detroit has plenty of money to offer Andre Iguodala, but there's not much allure in the Motor City right now. Perhaps there was about a decade ago, but we're in 2013 now. Until Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight prove that they can live up to their potential and join Greg Monroe as elite players, the Pistons aren't going to be competitive enough to draw in a marquee free agent.
Instead, they're simply included because they do present a good fit, and they can afford Iguodala. That's a combination possessed by just a handful of teams, so Detroit finds itself represented here even if it's just a long shot at best.
Let's say that Iguodala does sign, though.
A lineup consisting of Knight, Iguodala, Kyle Singler, Drummond and Monroe certainly looks appealing. That would be a great defensive squad, and Iguodala gives another offensive option to the Pistons, one who can actually take some of the pressure off Monroe.
I remain convinced that the Georgetown product can blossom into an All-Star if Detroit can provide him with a bit more protection out on the court. Without other scorers threatening the defense, he's the subject of an inordinate amount of attention when the Pistons have the ball.
Iggy would change that without disrupting anything else.
New Orleans Pelicans
Going into the 2013 offseason, the New Orleans Pelicans are on the books for $43,423,423. And that includes the salaries of Terrel Harris, Robin Lopez, Darius Miller, Brian Roberts, Jason Smith and Lance Thomas, all of whom are working with non-guaranteed contracts.
The Pelicans, much like the Detroit Pistons, are certainly capable of affording Andre Iguodala, but they'd still have to convince him that it's a worthwhile location.
Putting aside the appeals of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, New Orleans presents Iggy with the possibility of joining a lineup that could develop into a truly elite one.
Greivis Vasquez and Eric Gordon form a great backcourt, especially if Gordon starts living up to his potential, and Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson are both high-quality frontcourt members. It's small forward that's the weakness here, and that's a position Iguodala is all too familiar with.
He and Davis could form a terrific inside-outside defensive combination, especially as the Unibrow continues to bulk up and fill out his frame. Iguodala also has the lateral quickness to make up for Vasquez's defensive inefficiencies by sliding over and covering the best backcourt player on the opposing team.
New Orleans' players would all have the size, athleticism and defensive versatility to play in a very fluid system, one that switches constantly and minimizes the importance of traditional positions while masking Vasquez's and Anderson's shortcomings.
The Hornets don't present this swingman with the ability to win right away, but they're still an intriguing possibility.
San Antonio Spurs
Can you imagine how ridiculous the San Antonio Spurs' defense would be if Andre Iguodala joined the team?
Kawhi Leonard looks like he has the potential to challenge Tony Allen and Iggy for perimeter supremacy, so allowing him to play alongside the 29-year-old would border on unfair. Especially with Tony Parker roaming the perimeter and Tim Duncan—assuming he doesn't retire—patrolling the paint.
San Antonio could regularly hold opponents to point totals in the 70s.
He'd also fit right in with the San Antonio offensive mentality. Even though the Spurs have developed a "boring" reputation over the years, nothing could be further from the truth. They play up-tempo basketball and actually had the sixth-fastest pace in the NBA during the 2012-13 campaign.
Iguodala is an unselfish player who thrives in systems. He creates looks for his teammates, never hesitates to pass up good looks for great shots and doesn't seem to care about stats. He'd rather just win.
Sound like anyone we know? How about the ideal member of the San Antonio Spurs?
Acquiring Iggy would likely require general manager R.C. Buford to let either Manu Ginobili or Tiago Splitter walk, but it's a sacrifice that would be for the good of the team.