Trade rumors have been swirling around the Philadelphia 76ers lately with Andre Iguodala's name at the top of the list. People are torn on whether or not to get rid of Iguodala and his large contract. Iggy could definitely fetch a hefty price, but at what cost? Right now the Sixers seem to be playing better without him, but there is a delicate balance to this team that needs to be discussed.
Throughout this season I have seen a young group that seems to really enjoy playing together. You rarely see a heated confrontation amongst players. They play a very unselfish style of basketball...Maybe too unselfish at times. Considering they are a young team loaded with potential, it is important that they continue to get along. Some of the trade rumors I have seen involving Iguodala have been scary in terms of team chemistry.
Let's start with a possible trade to the Memphis Grizzlies. According to several sources, the Grizzlies have been trying to offload O.J. Mayo over the last six months. One such rumored deal would send Iguodala to Memphis for Mayo, Hasheem Thabeet and an expiring contract.
This deal doesn't work for me on several levels. First, we have been told that Turner and Iguodala can't coexist together. I don't necessarily agree with this theory. However if that is the case, why bring in a player that plays a similar position? Especially considering Mayo brings with him a ton of baggage and attitude that could upset the positive atmosphere in the Sixers' locker room.
On the other side, Mayo is a very talented player that may just need a change of scenery. He would need to change quite a bit to fit into this system. The list of offenses he has racked up just this past year makes Allen Iverson look like a model athlete.
The next proposed move that may upset the delicate chemistry is Iguodala to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for James Harden and Morris Peterson's expiring contract. Another move that does not address the hole we currently have in the middle. Although I was hoping Spencer Hawes would fill that gap, back problems and inconsistencies have altered his progress.
This trade also presents the same issue of adding another two guard to the mix. Although Harden is more of a shooter and Turner more of a play-maker, I don't see this trade being a fit. Especially considering Harden, like Turner, is starting to look like a bust.
The Mavericks have been rumored to be sniffing around the Sixers front office looking for a way to snatch up Iggy. The trade I've heard has involved the Sixers eating Caron Butler's expiring contract, adding one of the Mav's young guards and a first round draft pick.
This deal also does not address the concern in the middle. Not to mention the fact that the pick would be late in the first round. Considering the 2011 NBA Draft is not loaded with talent, the pick most likely won't bring in a game changer.
If we can also squeeze a future draft pick out of this trade, it may be conceivable on both ends. Iguodala will go to a contender that could use his athleticism and defensive prowess, and we get several future draft picks and the possibility of signing Caron Butler, who in my opinion is a tough, hard-nosed kind of guy that the Philly fans could really attach themselves to.
The Indiana Pacers are said to be in the hunt for Iggy as well. They would be able to offer Mike Dunleavy, Tyler Hansbrough and a pick. The Dunleavy move opens some cap room for next year, while Hansbrough adds a strong presence in the middle.
My faults with this trade all involve the question mark that is Tyler Hansbrough. Coming out of college I was convinced he would not be successful NBA player. My reasoning being, in college he was able to overpower most of his competition with strength and determination. Yet in the NBA, he is competing against guys either as strong or stronger than him every night.
Hansbrough has not disappointed me. He can't shoot from the outside and although he is a workhorse inside, he in my opinion is a career backup. The one thing I do like about Hansbrough's game is his ability off the pick-and-roll. If Karl Malone taught me anything, it's that you can make a career off pick-and-roll. With Jrue Holiday running the show, who knows how good this pairing would be.
Another possibility involves the Houston Rockets. This is my favorite of all the trade options I have heard. If we could get the expiring contract of Shane Battier as well as Chase Budinger or a draft pick, this would be ideal. The Rockets could use Iggy with the loss of Yao Ming, and the Sixers benefit with some leadership and young talent.
With the rumors swirling that Carmelo Anthony is headed to the Nets, the New York Knicks may become more aggressive in the trade market. They could package Wilson Chandler and Eddy Curry's expiring contract in exchange for AI9. That would free up a ton of cap space for next year, as the Sixers take one step closer to being an elite team.
Could you envision if for some stretch of the imagination, we all woke up tomorrow morning, turned on Comcast SportsRISE and found out that Iggy was involved in a deal that brought Carmelo to Philadelphia? I would say that is far-fetched, but did anyone really think The Phillies had any conceivable chance of landing Cliff Lee?
Wild rumors aside, it could be plausible that Iggy is involved in some sort of multiple team deal with the Nets for Carmelo. I would love to land a Brook Lopez in such a deal. Impossible...Or is it? Lopez has been regressing thus far this year. Derrick Favors and Kris Humphries have been stepping up their games, for Humphries both on and off the court...Nice pull Kris. If the Sixers packaged Iguodala and maybe a Lou Williams or Thaddeus Young, I could see the Nets moving their "Big Man of the Future". In order to land Carmelo and another scoring guard.
For this trade to work the Nets GM would have to be keen on absorbing large contracts...Oh wait, Billy King is the GM? Throw in the Nets first round draft pick as well.
The other option would be keeping Iguodala and hoping that one of our young guards turns into a superstar over the next three months. Iggy is a great sidekick, but not talented enough to lead a team.
The Sixers need to do something. They currently have the 3rd highest payroll in the Eastern Conference yet if the season ended today would not make the playoffs. Something has to give. Either they dump Iggy's salary and start the rebuilding process, or figure out a way to win with the current team. I would vote for option one. There is not enough firepower here to win a title, and they are roughly $12.1 million over the salary cap. It is time to make a move, as long as it doesn't cause an unbalance in this young team's chemistry.