Ask nearly any NBA fan who their dream addition to round out their team’s roster would be right now, and almost all of them that gave a reasonable answer based on the players who could realistically become available will say Andre Iguodala.
The problem is that the Swiss Army Knife, former Golden State Warriors wing is currently stuck on the Memphis Grizzlies roster after an offseason salary dump that allowed the Warriors to sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell.
And if you’re thinking to yourself “the Grizzlies! Aren’t they that team that helps the Lakers assemble contenders and/or buy out players to help L.A. fill out its bench needs?”, well, you’re half right. Unfortunately for the Lakers — and several other teams who could use Iguodala — the Grizzlies are less willing to buy out the veteran forward than they were with Howard, according to Shams Charania of the Athletic:
Iguodala is VP of NBPA, one of league’s most respected and desires a contender at this stage. 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. https://t.co/feAQl4Jbv0— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 9, 2019
On one hand, it makes sense that Iguodala wants to pick his next — and potentially final — destination. He didn’t choose to join the Grizzlies, and seemingly thought they would buy him out. On the other hand, though, it’s not that surprising that a small-market team like Memphis doesn’t want to pay a still-valuable veteran like Iguodala just over $17 million to not play for them.
The Grizzlies would be foolish to buy out Andre Iguodala now. And they won’t do it. After free agents this summer are eligible to be dealt on December 15, the trade market could be quite strong for him. Understand why Iguodala wants out but he’ll have to wait to join a contender. https://t.co/BLSP6ZDR5S— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) September 9, 2019
If Iguodala really wants out right now, he basically has two options: Take substantially less money in exchange for his freedom to pick another team, or try to shame and pressure the Grizzlies into giving him what he wants. Based on the phrasing of the report above making sure to paint Iguodala as a victim and Memphis as being unreasonable, it would appear Iguodala’s camp has chosen the second door.
Here’s where we can put our tin foil hats on and make things interesting if we connect some dots. This “report” dropped the same day that it was leaked that the Lakers applied for a Disabled Player Exception for DeMarcus Cousins, which could potentially be the first step towards the team cutting him (or another player) to free up a 15th roster spot, a spot Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka has said the team wants to keep open for players who are bought out.
Iguodala will have no shortage of suitors, and some who can offer him more than the Lakers can, but it’s at the very least worth noting that he is represented by Brandon Rosenthal of Landmark Sports Agency, aka Pelinka’s former agency. Iguodala is a former client of Pelinka’s himself, as it happens, and was publicly singing the praises of his former agent as recently as this summer.
Does this mean the Lakers have Iguodala in the bag as soon as he gets bought out? No, probably not, and it sounds like it’s not even a sure thing he’s bought out anyway. Still, it’s worth noting all the connections and coincidences here, because it’s at least possible it all might mean something sooner or later. Probably later, at least until the Grizzlies change their position.