While the Los Angeles Lakers wait on the decision of Kawhi Leonard, the majority free agents continue to find new homes.
There are still some names who could be available for the Lakers and one of the more interesting ones is Andre Iguodala.
Though no longer in his prime, Iguodala remains an effective veteran after 15 seasons, particularly defensively. He is one of the best on-ball defenders the league has ever seen and can still make an impact on any game.
However, Iguodala’s future is in question now, thanks to arguably the most unexpected move of this free agency period. The Golden State Warriors pulled off a sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell and in order to bring him in, they had to ship off Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Golden State is trading Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies, league source tells ESPN. Warriors are sending a 2024 protected first-round pick in the 2024 (protected 1-4), 2025 (protected 1) and 2026 unprotected.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2019
The question now becomes whether or not Iguodala is someone who would remain with the Grizzlies. After trading away Mike Conley, the team seems to be going young behind the duo of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. and Iguodala would likely not be interested in a rebuilding project.
At this stage in his career, Iguodala likely wants to be on a team with championship aspirations and according to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN (H/T Drew Shiller of NBC Sports), he is already telling people he will join the Lakers following a buyout from the Grizzlies:
“He has basically — according to sources — informed everybody he’s going to work out a buyout and then go to the Lakers.
“So Andre Iguodala is planning on joining the Lakers from what we’re being told. I don’t know how true that is, whether or not it is going to definitively happen.
“But that is the plan at this particular moment in time.”
This would be the ideal addition for the Lakers whether or not Leonard chooses to join the team. Iguodala’s numbers aren’t going to blow anyone away anymore, but he is an excellent, versatile defender with a ton of experience.
That playoff experience would be the main reason Iguodala is attractive to the Lakers. He showed in his most recent run once again that when the lights are brightest, he can still hang with the best and guard the top players in the league.
Offensively, Iguodala would give the Lakers another playmaker who is capable of initiating the offense and making the right play. His presence would take some pressure off LeBron James and Anthony Davis on both ends of the floor.
If Iguodala would take the veteran minimum to join the Lakers, that would be most ideal but the team could also offer him their room exception worth nearly $5 million if Leonard joins the team. If he doesn’t, the team will still have $32 million to offer Iguodala or any number of players remaining on the market.