The NBA’s trade deadline isn’t until Feb. 6, and a dearth of players on expiring mid-sized contracts suggests action leading up to this season’s deadline may be scant. But there’s at least one marquee player who’s almost certain to be dealt to a contender, even though he’s yet to take the floor at all in 2019-20.
The Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, and Houston Rockets are broadly considered Iguodala’s most ardent suitors, and his desire to play for a contender means there’s likely mutual interest. One problem: Iguodala’s $17.1 million salary makes salary-matching difficult, if not impossible, to come by for those teams if they don’t want to include a meaningful contributor in the trade. It’s unclear if the Grizzlies are seeking more than the second-round fodder the Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets could offer in their best packages for Iguodala, too.
If he ultimately finds his way to a different team, where might Iguodala land? Here are three dark-horse candidates to land basketball’s preeminent vagabond before the trade deadline.
It’s not like the Bucks need much help. They’re currently riding a 15-game winning streak, and their ridiculous 12.7 net rating is better than any team’s since 1996-97. Milwaukee, needless to say, is a juggernaut.
But the Bucks were similarly last successful last season before the Toronto Raptors beat them in the playoffs. They could always use another long perimeter defender in potential Finals matchups with the Lakers and Clippers. And it would be smart of Milwaukee to prove to Giannis Antetokounmpo that it’s truly all-in for a title after trading Malcolm Brogdon last summer.
If Memphis is comfortable with a package highlighted by a pair of second-round picks and believes in Sterling Brown, would a deal also including Ersan Ilyasova, Robin Lopez, and Frank Mason be attractive to the Bucks?
No team in the league has surprised quite like the Mavericks. They’re 16-7, third in the Western Conference, and their net rating is suddenly tied for second with the Lakers’ on the heels of multiple blowout wins last week.
Dallas’ roster is hardly foolproof, though, especially defensively. Dorian Finney-Smith is the Mavericks’ only wing with the length, strength, and athleticism to match up with the likes of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, and he remains limited offensively despite making small strides as a shooter. If he’s unplayable in the postseason as teams dare him to shoot, and Justin Jackson proves too slight to be Dallas’ stopper, will Rick Carlisle be comfortable affording that role to Tim Hardway, Jr.? No way.
Enter Iguodala, who could be acquired for multiple second-round picks – including one coming from the bottom-dwelling Golden State Warriors – and Courtney Lee and Boban Marjanovic.
The slumping Jazz need a jolt, and Iguodala could give it to them on both sides of the ball.
Utah is arguably less equipped than any other Western Conference playoff contender to deal with the league’s elite wings. Royce O’Neal is a game defender but woefully undersized compared to the likes of James and Leonard, and Jeff Green just isn’t quick or physical enough. Iguodala’s basketball intellect would come in handy for a team quietly lacking natural passers, too.
What would it take to get him to Salt Lake City? Utah has multiple future second-round picks from the Warriors, and a deal headlined by Dante Exum including Tony Bradley, Georges Niang, and Nigel Williams-Goss makes the math work .