Andre Iguodala remains a member of the Memphis Grizzlies… in name only. He is not playing with the team, not working out with the team, and the sides have mutually agreed to have him away from the team for now.
Iguodala wants to play for a contender, the Grizzlies want to trade former Finals MVP to help their rebuild and are seeking a first-round pick, and the suitors for him — led by the Los Angeles Lakers — believe the Grizzlies will eventually buy Iguodala out and they can get him for free. It’s an impasse.
That’s not the message the Grizzlies are trying to send, Adrian Wojnarowski reported on ESPN before the Lakers faced the Grizzlies Saturday.
[Wojnarowski] The message that Memphis has delivered to teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Rockets is that you're going to have to trade for him [Iguodala]. We are not buying him out. He will not be on the free agent market. pic.twitter.com/GY9qrR740g
— Siva Kodali (@kodali_siva) November 24, 2019
When the Warriors traded Iguodala to the Grizzlies this summer in a cost-saving move, some around the league expected a quick buyout. That didn’t happen. Iguodala is making $17.2 million this season and he wants to get paid his money. The Grizzlies don’t want to just pay that out and get nothing for it. From the start, the Grizzlies wanted to trade him and let other teams around the league know, again with a first-round pick the starting point.
There is little action on the Iguodala trade front right now, but that was to be expected. There are not likely to be trades in any form before Dec. 15, when the roughly 40 percent of NBA players who signed a contract this summer come available to be part of a deal. Even then, this likely drags out closer to the Feb. 6 trade deadline.
The Grizzlies hope is to send a message to teams that he is not going to be bought out and if they want him a trade is the only way (see Woj’s report). Considering the multiple reports that if bought out (after the trade deadline) Iguodala is headed to the Lakers, if another team wants to land him — as noted, the Rockets and Clippers are among those reportedly with some interest — it will have to step up and make a trade.
Even the hint of that could force the Lakers’ hand. The problem in Los Angeles is the Lakers don’t really have the pieces to trade for Iguodala. Their roster is heavy on minimum contracts so matching the salary is hard, and the Lakers traded their 2021 and 2024 first-round picks in the Anthony Davis deal, meaning they don’t have an available first-round pick to send out until 2026.
Bottom line, this is going to drag out. Don’t expect anything to happen with Iguodala until likely February.