The Warriors dealt Iguodala to the Grizzlies this summer for a trade exception, but the 2015 NBA Finals MVP never was going to lace up his sneakers for the rebuilding Griz. The assumption is that the Grizzlies will try to trade Iguodala or eventually work out a buyout with the veteran wing.
A number of teams are expected to be interested in Iguodala’s services. His on-ball defense, veteran savvy, playoff experience and ability to hit the outside shot make him a rare commodity in today’s game. The Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, 76ers, Nuggets and Warriors all have mentioned as potential landing spots for Iguodala either via trade or on the open market.
But, according to NBA executives, his destination pretty much is set in stone, as every NBA executive who answered the question posed by The Athletic’s David Aldridge chose the Purple and Gold.
“Best combination of ring chance and role,” one exec told Aldridge.
Iguodala’s former agent Rob Pelinka currently is the general manager of the Lakers, so it would make sense for Iguodala to head to Southern California to join LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Co. The Lakers have won six games in a row after their season-opening loss to Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers, buoyed by strong team defense and a re-energized James, the Lakers have looked like a championship contender from the jump.
Add in Iguodala to a team that already boasts Avery Bradley, Danny Green and James as wing defenders and the Lakers would be able to throw out one of the better defensive lineups in basketball. Versatility on defense will be key down the stretch and into the Western Conference playoffs when teams are boasting dynamic pairings like Russell Westbrook and James Harden or Leonard and Paul George.
As for a possible return to Golden State, that always seemed like a future move for Iguodala. With the injuries to Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors are in a transition season, trotting out a host of young and unproven players to see which have staying power.
Once the Warriors return to full strength, Iguodala returning to the Bay Area to finish his career seems like a likely destination.
But for now, should we just sharpie Iguodala in purple and gold? Feels like it.
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NBA rumors: Executives believe Andre Iguodala will sign with Lakers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area