The unofficial start of NBA trade seasons is in less than a week as most players signed this off-season become eligible to be moved. While it’s expected to be a fairly quiet market all the way to February’s trade deadline, one name in particular has been discussed for months now as a piece that can swing the title race towards any team.
Andre Iguodala has yet to play for the Memphis Grizzlies, sitting out after an offseason trade sent him there from the Golden State Warriors. From the jump, Iguodala was expected to be moved either via trade or buyout and the Los Angeles Lakers were expected to be heavy pursuers of the former Finals MVP.
The Grizzlies, however, have remained steadfast in their desire to trade Iguodala for assets rather than just letting him go for nothing. In a league with several teams hoping to make a chase for the Larry O’Brien trophy, the Grizzlies believe there will be enough of a bidding war for the wing to get something of value in return for him.
To that end, the Lakers will find it difficult to make the move to get Iguodala and as The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reports, it’s becoming ever more unlikely that they will get the three-time NBA champion:
As much as the Lakers would love for Iguodala to get bought out, I’m told there’s no world in which that happens. The Grizzlies will trade Iguodala—it’s only a matter of when and to whom. According to a source, Memphis is open to any type of trade package, including deals that bring back a long-term salary.
If the Grizzlies do find a trade package, it’s almost impossible for the Lakers to beat it. Several of their players have built-in no trade clauses due to the type of contracts they signed, meaning they would have to approve of a trade. They have practically no tradable draft picks. And their young assets amount to Kyle Kuzma (who they wouldn’t trade for Iguodala) and rookie Taken Horton-Tucker who has appeared in one game.
Teams like the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks are probably more desperate for Iguodala’s help and have more to give up to get him. Of course, whether they (or another team) ultimately make that move depends on how the trade market shapes up and whether those teams most likely to get Iguodala find other options.
The Lakers are sitting comfortable at 21-3, much better than anyone expected. Still, it’s clear that in the playoffs they will have potential weaknesses in their wing and playmaker depth (although the latter has become less of an issue with Rajon Rondo’s recent run of play). Iguodala would be the perfect fit because he could plug up both of those holes.
But as trade season opens up, Iguodala seems to be a more far-fetched plan than ever with a perfect storm needed for him to become a free agent and sign with the Lakers.