The Los Angeles Lakers have a full roster but there is still a glaring hole at the small forward position heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
LeBron James will almost certainly start there (or at least defend small forwards) but behind him, the best options appear to be Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma, who would both be playing out of position. Andre Iguodala would be a great fit but he’s currently at an impasse with the Memphis Grizzlies, who aren’t keen on buying him out.
According to reports, the Grizzlies remain steadfast in their assertion they will not buy out Iguodala and allow him to hit free agency, but they are hoping to receive a first round draft pick for his services via trade. On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane takes a look at why it’s unlikely the Grizzlies’ asking price will be met and what can happen as a result.
First and foremost, it’s extremely difficult for a trade to be completed right now with any team because players who signed deals as free agents last summer are ineligible to be traded until mid-December. With nearly 40% of the league hitting free agency last summer, matching salaries with the $17 million Iguodala will be paid this season is problematic even if a team was inclined to fork over an asset to the Grizzlies.
Furthermore, teams around the league can’t be thrilled with the optics around potentially giving the Grizzlies something for Iguodala after they already received a valuable first round draft pick from the Warriors as payment for dumping Iguodala’s salary on their cap. The Grizzlies received their 2024 first round draft pick as compensation and its light protection (1-4 in 2024, 1 in 2025, unprotected in 2026) combined with the fact that most of the Warriors will be declining by then makes it potentially a major asset.
For now, the staring contest will continue as 2019 NBA training camp inches closer. The Grizzlies swear they won’t buyout Iguodala, the rest of the league is content waiting them out, and caught in the middle is a veteran player who would like to finish his career on his own terms.
The Lakers, meanwhile, would be a natural landing spot for Iguodala but will have plenty of competition for his services if he is eventually bought out. Should they decide they need another wing defender, they may need to look elsewhere for the time being while keeping a close eye on the Grizzlies.