Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Andre Iguodala, Kawhi Leonard FA Meeting

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2019

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 13: Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to a play during Game Six of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on June 13, 2019 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. 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 Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are getting pretty good at exercising patience.

When the first attempt at trading for Anthony Davis failed, they waited, and their persistence ultimately paid off.

Davis is now in L.A. and excited to play alongside LeBron James.

The Lakers waited for Kawhi Leonard to make his decision, eschewing other desirable NBA free agents during the process.

Leonard later opted to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, sending the Purple and Gold into scramble mode, but they rebounded admirably "post-Kawhi" with the signings of Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins and Avery Bradley.

Now, they are playing the waiting game again. This time, they're taking their time to fill their final roster spot.

According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, the Lakers are leaving a spot open for Andre Iguodala, who would be available if he is bought out of his $17.2 million contract by the Memphis Grizzlies, who acquired him in a trade with the Golden State Warriors.

"They feel like he could be an X-Factor type of guy to add with the group they already have," McMenamin said on SportsCenter.

The 2015 NBA Finals MVP was a vital part of the Warriors' five-year run in the NBA Finals and three championships.

In Game 6, when Golden State nearly evened the series with the Toronto Raptors, Iguodala finished with 22 points in a 114-110 loss.

Last season, the 35-year-old veteran averaged 5.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in the regular season, but those numbers improved significantly in the postseason to 9.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per outing.

Iggy has played on the big stage, taken and made big shots, and he can still defend at a high level.

While his minutes will have to be managed during the regular season, he's been known to be the kind of player teammates want in the foxhole next to them when the playoffs roll around.

Additionally, he was rumored to be the guy that held the Warriors together throughout their rough patches as a team.

"Guys in this profession come and go pretty quickly. It's a very fluid business," Kerr said on the Warriors Insider Podcast.

"But for what Andre has meant to not only our team but to me personally, as a coach, for accepting his role, for mentoring younger players, for monitoring the bench and keeping everything going—the respect that the stars had for him combined with his mentoring of the younger players—Andre was the unsung hero of all of this.

"For him to move on was just devastating for me."

Any team looking to contend would be the better if they added Iguodala, but the Lakers would really benefit because of his ability to defend and move the ball.

L.A. may have one underappreciated advantage when it comes to luring Iggy: General Manager Rob Pelinka.

Pelinka was Iguodala's agent before joining the Lakers front office, so that relationship could be a vital selling point when the time comes.

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

There is some belief within league circles that the Grizzlies are prepared to take Andre Iguodala into the season unless they receive a trade offer featuring a future first-round pick

But the Grizzlies have to make the first move and buy out Iguodala, but according to the New York Times' Marc Stein, that isn't their first option.

Memphis would prefer to trade him for a future first-round pick.

With so many teams dealing their picks early this offseason, the market may not be there for the Grizzlies to get what they want, and it may not be worth it to them to carry his high salary into a season where they are looking to develop their young core.


Did Magic Johnson Ruin Lakers' Chance of Signing Kawhi?

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Now that Kawhi Leonard is officially on board with the Lakers' crosstown rival, they are forced to move on.

But that doesn't mean they aren't wondering what went wrong.

According to Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Lakers' pursuit of Leonard in free agency was derailed after Magic Johnson broke the 2019 NBA Finals MVP's request for radio silence.

"If you f--k this up, you're done, you're out," one front-office executive involved in the process explained to The Athletic. "They didn't say that, but that was the message. It was basically, 'Look, we would appreciate discretion.' Which means, 'Keep your f--king mouth shut.'"

Magic either didn't get that memo, or he did and chose to ignore it.

Once the Lakers' former president of basketball operations made it public that he'd had conversations with Leonard and his uncle Dennis Robertson, it's believed that it caused an atmosphere of distrust.

"I truly believe that when Magic started telling the media about the meeting he had with Kawhi and Dennis, that sealed the fate of the Lakers," a source told The Athletic. "I think that right there was when Dennis and Kawhi decided we can't trust the Lakers as an organization. And that was it. I think that was it for them."

While the feeling across the league is that Magic's loose lips sunk the Lakers' chances at signing Leonard, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year tried to dispel those rumors after he was officially introduced as a new member of the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

Yahoo Sports Exclusive: One-on-one with @LAClippers star Kawhi Leonard on Magic Johnson divulging their chat, how he felt about his plane being tracked in Toronto, on narrative he played the Lakers, Raptors and more. https://t.co/V1e6tw52DR https://t.co/jB157tnEzq

"That's not a reason why I didn't sign with the Lakers," Leonard told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. "The conversation was transparent that I had with Magic, and as long as me and him and whoever talked in the conversation was fair or truthful, I don't have too much to say about it."

Leonard's comments likely won't quell the rumblings about Magic's break from the plan, but it did help that the three-time All Star revealed that he was "very close" to signing with the Lakers until the Clippers made the trade for Paul George.

That move appeared to seal the deal for Leonard.

"When they presented the opportunity of playing with Paul, it was an easy guess," Leonard told ESPN's Rachel Nichols on The Jump. "I said, 'Let's get it going.'"

Leonard may have done his best to let Magic off the hook, but it may be a while before Laker Nation forgives him for his latest misstep.

Maybe now, the Hall of Famer can truly take the break from the team he was looking for when he suddenly stepped down from his role back in April.


Follow Maurice Bobb on Twitter, @ReeseReport

Statistics obtained from NBA.com


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