The Andre Iguodala saga has been one of the more intriguing storylines to being the 2019-20 NBA season as he seems to be the missing piece for the 14-2 Los Angeles Lakers.
However, the Memphis Grizzlies have been reluctant to buy him out and instead are seeking a trade partner for him, which has made the process a lot less seamless than it might normally be in this situation.
Iguodala has been tied to the Lakers on several occasions with general manager Rob Pelinka being his former agent, his relationship with LeBron James, and his former teammates JaVale McGee and Quinn Cook being on the roster. However, the Grizzlies are determined to find a trade partner in order to recoup some value for a player who still brings a lot of it to a championship team.
The Grizzlies have gone so far as to begin informing teams that a buyout is off the table and anyone who wants him has to trade for him, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
“The message that Memphis has been delivering to the entire league…’You are going to have to trade for him. We are not buying him out. He’s not going to be on the free agent market,'” Wojnarowski said.
Iguodala’s Lakers ties run so deep that many insiders believe it to be a foregone conclusion that he’ll sign there if he’s bought out. However, the Los Angeles Clippers seem to be the team to beat in a trade scenario:
Andre Iguodala continues to loom in the background, waiting to be traded out of Memphis or bought out around the February trading deadline. Insiders are nearly universal in their prediction he signs with the Lakers in a buyout scenario, but the Clippers have a ton of depth. They could trade for Iguodala and make their best-in-the-conference defense even more formidable.
The Lakers likely don’t have the pieces to put together a really solid trade that beats what the Clippers or even Denver Nuggets could give the Grizzlies. This means that if the Lakers want him, they’ll have to wait until the 2020 NBA trade deadline passes, hope the Grizzlies can’t find a deal they like, and proceed to buy him out.
If the Grizzlies trade him, the Lakers will have to shift their focus towards fulfilling other needs on this team like a backup point guard who can both defend and make plays.
How the Iguodala situation plays out will certainly be a point of emphasis for Lakers fans this season but for now, the Grizzlies seem very set in their ways.