Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler has recently undergone surgery on his right knee which will bring an end to his 2010-11 season in Dallas. The Mavericks are currently 25-8, second in the West behind their intrastate rivals, the San Antonio Spurs.
Meanwhile, Andre Iguodala, the Sixers' franchise forward, is currently sitting out with an Achilles injury. The usually durable Iguodala's rare time out has allowed more minutes for Evan Turner, the apparent future backcourt mate for Jrue Holiday. The extended playing time has made for some good performances from Turner, including a career-high in points against the Phoenix Suns.
These two simultaneous occurrences could indeed be the sparks that lead to the trade that Sixers fans have been contemplating all season long. The two major questions in this situation are whether Dallas is willing to bring in Iguodala to try to keep their impressive season going, and if Evan Turner is ready to get extended minutes and produce with Iguodala gone.
Anyone who knows Mavs owner Mark Cuban knows that he is anything but bashful when it comes to his desire to win basketball games. He is not afraid to go after any player, including expressing interest in LeBron James in the offseason even though the Mavericks were quite a long shot for his services.
That type of attitude means that Cuban will be willing to go after any player that he wants, and if that is Iguodala, he'll find a way to get it done.
From the Sixers' standpoint, this deal is all about Evan Turner. Numbers do not lie. Turner plays much better when Iguodala does not play. The Sixers have to decide what is more important for the future of the franchise: either Iguodala playing well now and Turner struggling, or Turner playing well now and perhaps in the future in exchange for the services of Iguodala.
It comes down to this fact: Iguodala is almost certainly as good as he is going to be. Personally, I think Iguodala is a talented and very productive player in the right circumstances. However, he has most likely reached his full potential, and it is not high enough to think of him as a No. 1 on an NBA team.
On the other side of things, Evan Turner has upside. With that being said, he also has downside. The No. 2 overall pick has shown flashes of brilliance, which have been accompanied by flashes of mediocrity.
The bottom line is that the Sixers will most likely have to move on from Iguodala if they ever want to truly find out how good Turner is, and how good Turner can be.
Here is where the Mavericks come into play. Cuban knows that losing Butler will be a blow to the team, but clearly Iguodala could fill a lot of the holes that Butler will leave. Butler and Iguodala are both averaging around 15 points. Iguodala is averaging 6.1 rebounds to Butler's 4.1 and 5.5 assists to Butler's 1.6. He is also averaging .3 more steals per contest.
So how do the Mavs get it done? Well if you are the Sixers, you have to insist upon acquiring Brendan Haywood. Yes, the Sixers could use a center, and Tyson Chandler has been more productive than Haywood, but Haywood makes considerably less money than Iguodala and Chandler, and would be able to come in and start for the Sixers and probably be more productive.
The Mavericks might also need to throw in a Rodrigue Beaubois and maybe DeShawn Stevenson to make salaries match.
The Sixers would also be able to request some draft picks, perhaps even a first-round pick on the grounds that they would have all the leverage in the deal. The Sixers do not have to trade Iguodala and they will not contend for a championship with or without him anytime soon.
The Mavericks, on the other hand, are in the thick of a championship run. They are not sure how long their window of opportunity will be open. Acquiring a player like Iguodala will ensure that they will still be in contention in the West.
Iguodala will be in a winning situation and will certainly thrive from the open room created by the presence of shooting talents like Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki.
Could this be the breaking point? Perhaps the injury to Butler coupled with the possible opportunities for Evan Turner could be the combination that will lead to an Iguodala trade.