Andre Iguodala is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers — or at least that’s what most NBA players and executives seem to think.
David Aldridge of The Athletic recently polled league executives to get a feel for where they think the former Finals MVP will end up this season, an a majority of them believe that Iguodala will don the the purple and gold if the Memphis Grizzlies buy him out:
You have $50 to bet. Where does Andre Iguodala end up?
I posed this question to multiple NBA executives Monday and Tuesday morning. Not all of them answered. But of those who did, every single one of them said the Lakers. “Best combination of ring chance and role,” one longtime team boss said. I thought someone would say the Clippers. None did. (Wait; just got one guy who says Clippers, but does so with no particular enthusiasm.) That means nothing, of course; the Clips stayed silent all through the KawhiStakes and wound up getting their man in large part because they kept their mouths shut. Also, there’s always a stealth team out there who sneaks into the mix
.But the notion that Iggy to the Forum Blue and Gold seems to be so universally held a belief could certainly impact how hard other teams engage the Grizzlies in potential trade talks.
This report from Aldridge comes fresh off of a report from Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, who said last month that most players she’s talked to believe Iguodala will sign with the Lakers if he’s bought out. As the saying goes: Where there’s smoke, there’s a 6’6” fire with a 7’3” wingspan — or something like that.
But Lakers fans shouldn’t get too excited because, according to everything that has been put out there to date, the Grizzlies have zero interest in buying out Iguodala out of his $17.1 million deal. If they did, he’d be a free agent already. That’s bad news for the Lakers, who can’t put together a competitive trade package together for the 35-year-old forward because they don’t have the contracts to match his salary or the draft assets to make it worth Memphis’ while.
If Iguodala is bought out because he Memphis can’t find a suitable trade partner and he agrees to give back a large portion of his salary, then great! His chances of ending up the Lakers increase drastically.
Until that happens, it doesn’t matter if the whole world thinks Iguodala is going to sign with the Lakers as a free agent, because he probably won’t be given the opportunity to.