The Memphis Grizzlies are not planning to get rid of Andre Iguodala.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Grizzlies want Iguodala to report to training camp as they don’t plan on buying out the former Finals MVP.
Andre Iguodala Wants to End His Career on Contender
The 35-year-old Iguodala is accustomed to playing on championship-caliber teams. He spent the past six seasons in Golden State as a member of the Warriors — who had won three of the past five NBA championships.
Everyone had assumed the Grizzlies would buy out the veteran forward as they did with the 33-year-old Dwight Howard recently. Howard went on to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the biggest title contenders in the NBA this season.
As was the case with Howard, Iguodala also had hopes of controlling his own destiny as a free agent as he likely enters the final season of his career.
It’s unclear why the Grizzlies want to retain Iguodala. They’re clearly a rebuilding team, posting the second-worst record in the NBA in 2017-18 and posting a 33-49 record last season.
For the first full season since the 2006-07 campaign, the Grizzlies will be without franchise staples Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Which means that it’s the first season in over a decade that they have zero plans of contending.
Could Memphis be holding out in hopes of trading Iguodala and getting some value back in return? Quite possibly. But the fact that they bought out Howard — while refusing to do with Iguodala — is a little questionable. Perhaps it’s because they sense championship-contending teams will have a desire to acquire an asset such as Iguodala come February.
Numerous Teams Interested in Andre Iguodala
In fact, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that there was immense interest around the league in the veteran small forward when the Grizzlies initially acquired him back in July.
All of those teams are still viable options. However, the Lakers would likely be less inclined to acquire Iguodala considering they’ll be over the salary cap with Iguodala’s $17.1 million salary. However, it is worth noting that the Lakers have applied for a $1.75 million disabled player exception due to DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending ACL injury.
That means that the Lakers would have another roster spot open for a veteran such as Iguodala. If he had been bought out, the Lakers would be an obvious destination considering they could sign him to the same veteran’s minimum deal that they signed Howard to.
However, it looks like the Grizzlies are dead set on acquiring something back in exchange for their coveted veteran small forward.
As far as the other teams are concerned, all of them remain options — but again, it’ll likely happen after the season has started and when teams get an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.
The Rockets still lack a dominant perimeter defensive player outside of P.J. Tucker. With James Harden and Russell Westbrook having to carry the offensive load, it would only help to acquire a player of Iguodala’s magnitude. The question is, are they willing to absorb the salary, even for half of the season?
The Clippers were listed as a possible destination, but they already have two of the best perimeter defensive players in the league in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. They also have Patrick Beverley on the roster. It would seem less likely for the Clippers to acquire Iguodala via trade considering they don’t have the desperate need for him as the other contenders do.
It remains to be seen how Iguodala will end his career, but mark my words — it won’t be in Memphis.