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NBA Trade Rumors: Latest on Andre Iguodala to Mavericks, Frank Ntilikina's Value

Theo SalaunContributor IIIDecember 21, 2019

New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina, left, passes the ball around Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Steve Dykes/Associated Press

Half of basketball is offense. The other half, defense. That latter half is at the center of the NBA's latest rumors, with veteran Andre Iguodala and young Frenchman Frank Ntilikina each garnering league attention.

For Iguodala, under a hefty contract for a team that has no use for him, his next destination is slowly becoming clearer. For Ntilikina, of modest production and on a modest contract, preliminary attention has grown into valuation.

Marc Stein reported from the G-League showcase in Las Vegas the Dallas Mavericks are no longer interested in acquiring Iguodala from the Memphis Grizzlies while the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets each maintain hope for a buyout.

As for Ntilikina, SNY's Ian Begley reported that team valuations have been set between late-first-rounders and second-rounders as his current market price.  

                       

IguodaLA, not IguoDallas?

His name is Andre Iguodala. An NBA mercenary, practically peerless, the likes of which we have scarcely seen. He may grow old, but his defense is versatile, his playmaking impressive, and his mojo...unwavering. Iguodala costs a lot right now, but a few teams are eager for his services. This is the way.

The Grizzlies have until February 6 to find someone willing to trade for the 35-year-old Iguodala and his $17.2 million salary. Dallas is reportedly off of the table, while Houston and both Los Angeles teams would rather hold out for a buyout.  

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

The Grizzlies remain convinced they can find a trade partner for Iguodala and his $17.2 million salary before the Feb. 6 trade deadline ... while teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Rockets stubbornly retain hope that the former Warriors defensive ace becomes a buyout candidate

Money is a problem for interested teams, as is Memphis' asking price. According to Heavy's Sean Deveney, the Grizzlies remain fixated on receiving a first-round pick for Iguodala. That means Memphis is best-suited to continue waiting this out as long as they can. 

Picks are a confusing mess for these contenders, but as they continue winning, they will grow even more desperate to make something work, possibly involving multiple teams, to gain a postseason edge over their peers.

                   

French Frank, a Known Commodity with Known Character, Draws Interest 

French Frank is a great defender, but he is no Iguodala. Interest in him remains contingent upon how teams value his offensive potential, and that has engendered a lower market price. 

Among his qualities, Begley's sources noted that "he's still young and he plays defense," that "you know what you have" in him and that his off-court traits "shouldn't be discounted." Albeit inconsistent on offense, the 21-year-old is a legitimately talented defender whose diligent, affable character warrants interest. 

Ian Begley @IanBegley

From earlier: Opposing teams assess Frank Ntilikina’s trade value: “I don't know if you get a 1st for him, but he still has value in this league. He's one of those players where you better make sure you know what you have before you make the trade.” More: https://t.co/5S7fTI3JVX

The Knicks, brimmed with high-upside, streaky shooters, are probably no longer the right fit for Frank's development. Whether Dennis Smith Jr. or Julius Randle get traded or not, the team stills needs to prioritize better floor-spacers alongside RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson—their seemingly sole cornerstones (until Kevin Knox rounds that corner into true serviceability, of course). 

A source compared the situation to Markelle Fultz's in Philadelphia, and that is apt. The Orlando Magic needed to give up a first-rounder (via the Oklahoma City Thunder) and second-rounder (via the Cleveland Cavaliers), while offloading Jonathan Simmons' $6 million contract, to obtain Fultz.

Of course, Ntilikina's ceiling isn't considered as high as Fultz's, and that means his price should be lower. The valuations offered by Begley's sources ranged between a protected first to a second-rounder or another struggling young player. Like the Magic, a team outside of true contention should be able to take a modestly priced shot at developing Ntilikina before the trade deadline.