The Philadelphia 76ers have not gotten out to the best start this season. At 6-14, Philadelphia is just a half game ahead of the New Jersey Nets, who sit in the basement in the Eastern Conference, at 6-15.
The struggles of this Sixers team has created some buzz around the status of franchise player Andre Iguodala. Iguodala has been the main attraction in Philadelphia since the 2006-2007 NBA season when he broke out after the exit of Allen Iverson.
Iguodala has been terrific during his tenure with Philadelphia, but the problem has not been him. Iguodala has been surrounded by minimal talent over the past few years. Elton Brand has not been the same player he once was in Los Angeles, and other supporting-cast players such as Andre Miller and Louis Williams have not been enough to make the Sixers competitive.
However, the problem may not lie entirely in the supporting cast.
Iguodala is a great player, but he is not suited to be the No. 1 option on a team. His strengths lie in his defensive abilities and as a playmaker, but not as a primary scorer. In seven seasons, Iguodala has averaged just 15.8 points per game, and he has never averaged over 20 points a game in a season.
Clearly, Philadelphia is in rebuilding mode. Andre Iguodala will never be able to succeed as the main star in Philadelphia, and the likelihood of landing Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony over the next two offseasons is small.
Trading Iguodala makes sense for both the 76ers and Iguodala himself.
Iguodala will turn 27 next month and is entering his prime. In an Eastern Conference that will be very competitive for at least the next five years, Philadelphia has little chance of competing with powerhouses in Miami, Boston and Orlando. With youngsters Jrue Holliday, Evan Turner and Jodie Meeks, it makes sense for Philadelphia to build around a new core of younger players that can develop together and build chemistry over the next few seasons with the intention of competing in the future rather than now.
The 76ers will be stuck with Elton Brand's horrible contract until 2012. The 76ers should take a cue from Pat Riley's playbook and plan for free agency of that year. By developing some in-house talent and then making a splash in free agency for a first or second-option type player, the 76ers could jump to the upper echelon in the Eastern Conference.
Despite the fact that he is struggling this season, Iguodala would be highly valued in the trade market right now. The 76ers could get a solid role player who could contribute now in addition to some future prospects or draft picks.
Trading Iguodala would do him a favor by giving him a chance to compete in the playoffs this season. The move may not be the most popular, but it's the smart thing to do.