Andre Iguodala's stint with the Memphis Grizzlies may be over before it officially begins.
"Grizzlies, Andre Iguodala reach agreement to keep him out of camp, on the trade market," the Daily Memphian's Chris Herrington reported Monday.
The 2014-15 Finals MVP will miss Memphis' media day and all other training camp activities. Instead, he'll try to stay in shape through private workouts as his team (in name only) looks for workable trades.
"There is a mutual understanding, per sources, that the situation may not reach a resolution until well into the season," Herrington wrote. "On December 15, players who signed as free agents this summer will be eligible to be traded, potentially expanding the range of possible deals. The NBA trade deadline is February 6."
There was some expectation that Iguodala might be bought out by Memphis in the wake of his acquisition from the Golden State Warriors.
"Iguodala is VP of NBPA, one of league's most respected and desires a contender at this stage," Stadium and The Athletic's Shams Charania tweeted earlier in September. "Young, rebuilding Grizzlies received a valuable 2024 1st from Golden State in Iguodala trade, and after Dwight Howard buyout, were expected to eventually have same talks with Iguodala."
Forget that the message almost certainly seems to have come from Iguodala's camp. The biggest takeaway is the comparison to Howard, though their respective situations are drastically different.
Iguodala can still command some value on the trade market. Howard likely would've required the Grizzlies to attach additional assets for another team to take him on.
And so, Memphis now has several months to comb through any offers it receives for Iggy. A few contenders should already be thinking about reaching out.
Back in 2013, Iguodala was part of a Denver Nuggets squad that matched up with the Warriors in a contentious playoff series. That summer, after Iggy left Denver for Golden State, then-Nuggets head coach George Karl accused him of being a "mole" and feeding information to then-Warriors head coach Mark Jackson (h/t USA Today's Sean Highkin).
In July, Denver Stiffs' Evan Fiala looked back on that situation:
"There's no denying Iguodala left Denver on a sour note. But the elephant doesn't need to be quite as big as many are still making it out to be even six years later. This is a completely different Nuggets franchise from 2012-2013. None of those players are still around. The front office was overhauled and has since grown and built a culture of team-first players that are cut from the same cloth as Iguodala."
In a conference that includes LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden (just to name a few), having one of the top perimeter defenders of all time would come in handy. Given the passing ability of Nikola Jokic, Iguodala could find new life as a cutter on offense, as well.
A hypothetical closing five of Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Iguodala, Paul Millsap and Jokic would have legitimate title aspirations, assuming natural development from Murray and Harris. And unlike some other contenders, Denver has a pretty easy path to matching Iguodala's salary-cap hit and satisfying the trade rules of the collective bargaining agreement.
The Deal: Will Barton and Malik Beasley for Andre Iguodala
Barton has a player option for $14.9 million in 2021-22. That contract may be a tough pill to swallow for a player who just posted a below-replacement-level box plus/minus. For that reason, Memphis may attempt to extract a draft pick.
That may be difficult with Iguodala approaching his age-36 season, though.
Instead, Denver gives up a promising young player in Malik Beasley. Last season, the 22-year old averaged 11.3 points off the bench and shot 40.2 percent from three. He'd fit almost perfectly into a lineup with the rest of the Grizzlies' young core.
By the time Barton's salary is set to come off the books, Ja Morant, Beasley, Kyle Anderson, Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr. might be ready to compete for a playoff spot.
Los Angeles Clippers
This may not be the L.A. team you expected to see here, so let's quickly get the Los Angeles Lakers' exclusion out of the way.
Their best shot at Iguodala—maybe their only shot—would have come after a buyout. As long as Memphis insists on getting some value back in a trade, the Lakers aren't a great bet. They just don't have the trade assets.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Avery Bradley for Iguodala works under the cap rules, but KCP has to consent to any trade, and neither of those players does anything for Memphis. The Lakers would have to sweeten the deal with picks, and they just unloaded the proverbial clip in the Anthony Davis deal.
That doesn't mean Hollywood Iguodala is out of the question, though.
The Deal: Maurice Harkless, Landry Shamet and Jerome Robinson for Andre Iguodala
This one makes a little less sense than the Nuggets deal. The Clippers already have plenty of perimeter defense from Leonard and George. And the youth and shooting of Landry Shamet make almost perfect sense next to them.
If they come out of the gates a little cooler than expected, though, they may be inclined to add Iguodala's experience and championship pedigree.
Maurice Harkless is only 26 years old, but he's mostly salary filler in this deal. Jerome Robinson would give Memphis a flier on another young player.
In the spirit of how the Clippers section opened, let's take a moment to mention another Texas team that will surely explore the possibility of adding Iguodala.
The Houston Rockets received a blow on that front this month.
"The NBA and Players Association has made ruling on Nene's two-year, $20M deal to return to Rockets..." Charania tweeted. He continued: "Rockets are no longer able to use Nene's full $10M salary as trade chip, per league and union agreement. Houston signed Nene, discussed similar proposal for Iman Shumpert, potentially to move for someone like Andre Iguodala."
With that creative attempt at a trade chip off the table, the Rockets find themselves in a position similar to the Lakers. Eric Gordon might have been an interesting salary-matching piece, but he just signed a long-term extension. The rebuilding Grizzlies have little use for a 2 who'll be in his mid-30s by the time his current deal ends.
Instead, another team from the Lone Star State may throw its cowboy hat in this ring.
The Rockets' NBA neighbor to the north, the Dallas Mavericks, could compete for a playoff spot this season. Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis make up one of the league's most intriguing young duos. Supplementing their offense with some defense and experience makes sense.
The Deal: Tim Hardaway Jr. and a 2025 first-round pick for Andre Iguodala
With Iguodala heading into his age-36 season and averaging fewer than 70 appearances over his last six campaigns, it might be tough for the Grizzlies to get a first-round pick back.
Though the Mavs already gave up two to the New York Knicks for Porzingis (hence not being able to surrender another until 2025), they're one team that might be able to justify that price.
Prior to landing Doncic, the Mark Cuban-era Mavericks had never put a ton of stock into building through the draft. Combining this deal with the move for Porzingis would return Dallas to that track, and Iguodala would help in the short term.
For Memphis, taking back some unwanted salary may be what it costs to get a first. But at this point, Hardaway's deal is manageable. He has a $19 million player option in 2020-21, but Memphis won't need space that soon anyway.
Wherever Iguodala winds up, he may not make a huge impact during the regular season. He's in the twilight of his career. Charania even tweeted, "...this may be his final NBA season."
But he's been phenomenal during his last two postseason runs with the Warriors, averaging 11.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per 75 possessions with a 58.1 true shooting percentage and a 4.4 BPM.
On a playoff squad or title contender that might grant him the luxury of pacing himself until April, Iguodala could be the kind of acquisition who pushes a team up a tier.
All stats, unless otherwise indicated, courtesy of Basketball Reference.
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