Even given how well the Los Angeles Lakers have started this season, the somewhat scary thought is that they could fairly easily continue to improve. Kyle Kuzma has yet to consistently meet the expectations of even the most realistic fans, Avery Bradley is just now getting ready to return from a somewhat lengthy absence, and they could add to the roster.
As it pertains to that last source of improvement, the name most closely tied to the Lakers has always been Andre Iguodala, who has yet to suit up for the Memphis Grizzlies since being traded there last summer. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, though, it appears his situation isn’t getting resolved any time soon.
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.
So the waiting game continues, with no end in sight until the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
If you’re looking for reasons to be optimistic on this front, it’s somewhat difficult to see a team giving up a first-rounder for an aging Iguodala unless they legitimately feel he’s the difference between them and a title this season. Of the teams who can really convince themselves they’re in the upper echelon of the league in that regard (the Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks), only Milwaukee has the assets to make something like this work, but even then, matching Iguodala’s 17 million-dollar price tag without drastically effecting the rotation is impossible for them.
There are obviously other teams that could make such deals, though. The Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, and several other Western Conference teams could convince themselves Iguodala is the key to leapfrogging both L.A. teams, but matching Memphis’ demands isn’t going to be easy for any of them.
Some team might also swoop in to trade for Iguodala just to ensure the Lakers don’t sign him after he hits waivers, too. This isn’t out of spite, either, so much as it would be that the Lakers have already looked so strong this season that adding to their roster might further the gap between them and the vast majority of the NBA, something other teams may want to prevent.
It’s hard to predict right now how this is going to play out. Frankly, I think Memphis is being somewhat ridiculous in their trade demands, but that’s how negotiating works. They have to ask for the moon and then work their way down from there. This could even just be posturing before they eventually buy Iguodala out anyway. Who knows, really.
What helps the Lakers in this situation is that they have opened so strongly and don’t have to approach Memphis with any desperation whatsoever. If they get Iguodala, great. They immediately become outright title favorites with the firepower on both sides of the ball to match up with or outright overwhelm any opponent. If they don’t land him, alright, they still have a share of the league’s best record right now and have looked as impressive as anyone could’ve hoped.
It would be great to add Iguodala, but this is by no means the type of situation to panic over, especially given how this season has gone so far. Keep an eye out for rumors about this situation to heat up as we get closer to Dec. 15, which is when talks with teams can really start, as it’s the day players signed this summer become eligible to be traded.