Despite the fact that he’s one of the better all-around players in the NBA and certainly the best player on the Philadelphia 76ers, it appears that Philly is ready to trade swingman Andre Iguodala either before or during Thursday’s NBA Draft.
The problem isn’t that Iguodala isn’t a good player – it’s that the Sixers already have a bunch of athletic non-big men. They desperately need a scorer (especially at crunch time) or a true center, with either one being able to draw a double-team. Plus, the Sixers already have Iguodala’s replacement in place in 2010 NCAA Player of the Year Evan Turner, last year’s No. 2 overall pick. Also, Iguodala started to break down last year, as wrist, Achilles' and knee problems limited him to a career-low 67 games. His 14.1 points a game was his lowest average since his second season.
The main rumors have Iguodala going to either Golden State for shooting guard Monta Ellis or to the L.A. Clippers for center Chris Kaman. In both cases -- Iguodala for Kaman or Iguodala for Ellis -- current salaries for the players involved are close enough that the swap could be made without adding additional players to the deal to satisfy current salary-cap requirements.
While most teams are waiting to see what the CBA looks like before making a big move, Philly doesn’t appear to want to wait. By dealing Iguodala now they would know what position to target with their first-round pick. Philly holds No. 16 overall. Bodog offers a prop on whether Iguodala will be traded by the end of the draft: ‘yes’ is at -250 while ‘no’ is +170. If the Sixers don’t trade Iguodala now, a lockout wouldn’t allow any moves. So hence the urgency. If Iguodala isn't dealt, the Sixers will likely go for a big man like Kansas’ Markieff Morris in the draft. If Iguodala goes, Philly would likely target a perimeter scorer like Providence’s Marshon Brooks or Jordan Hamilton.
The Clippers don’t really need Kaman because they prefer DeAndre Jordan as their starting center going forward and Kaman is rather injury prone. Kaman has played in 56 games or fewer three of the last four years, and appeared in just 32 last year because of an ankle problem. But Iguodala wants to play for the Clippers – my how things have changed with Blake Griffin around! Neil Olshey, the Clippers VP of basketball operations, is already on record saying the team hopes to complete a deal for "an impact veteran" by the end of June.
The Warriors don’t really need Ellis because they already have a similar player in Stephen Curry – both guys are scorers first and literally the same size. However, the new Warriors regime of GM Larry Riley and coach Mark Jackson have said it’s likely Ellis stays put, although there was a report the Warriors made a laughable package offer involving Ellis and some junk to Orlando for Dwight Howard.
Philadelphia 76ers president Rod Thorn said on Tuesday that Iguodala has not asked for a trade, but Iguodala has all but said he expects to be on another club next season. Plus, Iguodala seemed to make a statement when he didn’t show up for an end-of-the-year meeting with Coach Doug Collins and team brass following Philly’s series loss to the Heat.
So I think Iggy does get traded and probably to the Clippers. Kaman isn’t as good of a player as Iguodala, but he can be a very solid center when healthy. Plus Kaman only has one-year, $12.2 million remaining on his deal, which is highly attractive to Philadelphia. Iguodala makes $13.5 million next season and the contract increases by $1.2 million each of the next two years.