As a 76ers fan, the announcement is a little conflicting. First, I'm happy to see a member of the team receive such a great honor. On the other hand, the trade talk involving Iguodala never seems to go away. It's entirely possible that he could be traded before or after the Olympics end. The fact that Iguodala's value continues to improve leads me to think that the 76ers might have a move up their sleeve.
Iguodala has had a turbulent career in Philadelphia but has found his stride under Doug Collins. He played well in the 2010-11 season and was even better this past one. Iguodala was an All-Star for the first time this season and now he is in line for a gold medal. However, you will probably be hard-pressed to find many fans that insist on the team keeping him in a 76ers uniform. That is one reason why Iguodala has become one of the more intriguing athletes in the city. I am happy for all of the honors he is getting, but I can't help but think about what it means for his trade value.
To be fair, Iguodala is deserving of his invite to London. He is a great defensive player, and he has proved himself to be a strong leader. I think he can excel on that team and we should all be happy for him. However, that doesn't mean I'm not willing to let him go. I still don't think he is a player that can lead this team to glory. He lacks the offensive punch that the 76ers desperately need. An average of 12.4 points per game isn't going to get the job done. By letting him go, the 76ers have the chance to bring in players that can help them reach the next level. We know that can't happen with Iguodala. If they were going to trade him this is the time to look. His value will never be higher.
The big reason I think that the team is open to trading Iguodala is the fact that they have cut ties with Elton Brand. That has freed up a lot of salary cap room, meaning that they can get a pretty strong package in return for Iguodala. If it doesn't happen now, I would expect it to happen during the regular season. Otherwise, why would they have used the amnesty clause in the first place? They have to have something in mind, and I wonder if the Olympics announcement influences them. In fairness to Iguodala, I would be okay with the drama dying down until after the Olympics end. However, I hope that the 76ers use the time to work the phones to see what is out there.
* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong 76ers fan.