With training camp approaching, and more and more folks looking ahead to the start of a new season, attention returns to the fact that the Memphis Grizzlies currently have an aging three-time NBA Champion on their rebuilding roster. Andre Iguodala wants out, and after Dwight Howard got that opportunity many thought that perhaps Iggy would be afforded the same opportunity.
The thing is though...he’s not getting it. At least not yet.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that the Grizzlies not only are planning on keeping Iguodala for the foreseeable future, they in fact expect him to report to training camp in the coming weeks.
Sources: Memphis wants three-time champion Andre Iguodala to report to training camp and is refusing right now to engage in buyout, which would prevent Iguodala from finishing a Hall of Fame career on his terms because this may be his final NBA season.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 9, 2019
Iguodala is VP of NBPA, one of league’s most respected and desires a contender at this stage. Young, rebuilding Grizzlies received a valuable 2024 1st from Golden State in Iguodala trade, and after Dwight Howard buyout, were expected to eventually have same talks with Iguodala. https://t.co/feAQl4Jbv0— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 9, 2019
In a league like the NBA, which is given so much credit (most often warranted) for being pro-player and progressive, the fact that fans and national media alike would side with Andre isn’t surprising. Surely Memphis wouldn’t have a need for a player with the veteran presence and skill set of Iguodala, so why keep him around?
Which is exactly why Memphis should keep him around...for now.
Training camp is coming, but is not here yet, and Andre Iguodala is under contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies acquired his services from the Golden State Warriors and were willing to take his sizable cap hit in to their space opened up by the Mike Conley trade and other transactions in exchange for a future first from the “light years ahead” organization. If Iggy doesn’t want to play in Memphis, his beef should be with the Warriors who sent him there. They valued not losing Kevin Durant for nothing in free agency more than him, and Memphis was able to capitalize.
Now, the Grizzlies are right to hold on to him until another opportunistic moment arrives.
Perhaps it will be in the next few days, with the newness of this fresh report and a reminder that the NBA season is rapidly approaching and the best player realistically available to a contender is Iguodala. The value of that is dependent on the situation - the Clippers may not need Iguodala right now, but an injury here or a realization that Moe Harkless and Jerome Robinson do not equal a player like Iggy there and all of a sudden trade negotiations heat up. Maybe a lesser team, like the Mavericks, are willing to part with a better player with more money due over time (Tim Hardaway Jr. perhaps) and a pick for the expiring of Iggy after a couple weeks of camp, or even the first week or two of the season.
Of course, you could always do worse than Iguodala as a player for Memphis - veteran leadership, championship pedigree. That holds value to the Grizzlies - which is why they’re willing to take on any “bad press” or views of this decision. It’s about the long haul, and Iguodala’s expiring contract and title mentality/game warrant discomfort for potentially more compensation.
Patience can lead to a solid reward in addition to the Warriors pick already acquired...but a rash decision to simply allow him to buy himself out because of pressure externally would be a mistake. As time progresses and it becomes clear that he is filling a roster spot that you want a young player to take, or you become worried about locker room discontent (an overrated issue that assumes the young minds of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant are immature and not very professional), then revisiting a buyout can happen. But that decision isn’t needed for weeks - there is no need to rush.
Allow for things to play out. Iguodala, if indeed this is his last season, will be desperate to get out of Memphis and make it to a contender. The buy out option will almost always certainly be there, within league rules. The ball is in the court of the Grizzlies here- they, at worst, will come away with more cap space and still in possession of another first round pick. If they’re able to play the waiting game and ignore the noise from those that barely acknowledge Memphis to begin with as an NBA city, they have a chance to improve their future lot even more after a shrewd summer.
Andre Iguodala wants to go. Memphis wants him to stay and do his job. And for now, that is the right decision.