Inside the Sixers: Prepare to say goodbye to Iguodala

Veteran Andre Iguodala does not seem to fit with coach Doug Collins' youthful 76ers, and the team will look to trade him.
Veteran Andre Iguodala does not seem to fit with coach Doug Collins' youthful 76ers, and the team will look to trade him. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff photographer)
Posted: May 08, 2011

You don't need a microscope to read between the lines of Andre Iguodala's postseason quotes.

If you want to be somewhere, or do something, you rarely bury the admission beneath layers of verbiage.

There's an extra pair of tickets to the Phillies game at work: First come, first served.

We'll take them.

Do you kids want to go to Disney World?

Yes!

An answer to a straightforward question is simple, but Iguodala's answer to the question, "Do you want to play for the 76ers next year?" was anything but.

Here was his first attempt: "I expect to be back in the NBA," Iguodala said after the team's season-ending loss to the Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs. "It's always been a dream of mine to play ball. This has been a great ride so far, not just with the Sixers, just playing basketball in general. I'm really looking forward to getting some rest this summer, just letting my body recuperate and get back to 100 percent, and I'm really looking forward to next year being my best year in the league."

Not his best with the Sixers, but his best in the league.

When asked to clarify his answer - considering it was anything but clear - Iguodala continued down the same fuzzy path.

"I think it's something I've always dreamed about, playing in the league," Iguodala said. "Once I got here, I think I've always wanted to be in one place, not having to move around a lot, being comfortable in one spot."

Iguodala never actually said he didn't want to return to the Sixers. He danced around igniting an aggressive offseason controversy, but he tossed in a cup of passive-aggressiveness for confusion.

Iguodala has not asked Sixers management for a trade, but the team will be looking to trade him this summer.

Sixers coach Doug Collins has finally found a nucleus of guys - Thaddeus Young, Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, and Jodie Meeks - who enjoy playing for the Sixers. Veteran power forward Elton Brand, in addition to having an anchor of a contract, serves as a complementary presence for those guys.

What Collins doesn't need is a borderline star answering questions vaguely about his desire to play for Collins' team. It's too much navigation at this stage of the building process, and Collins is too genuine to ignore Iguodala's half-statements and innuendo.

Here's the breakdown of how NBA general managers feel about the remaining $56 million on Iguodala's contract. Approximately half of the GMs believe he's paid appropriately, perhaps slightly overpaid but nothing that would prevent them from making a deal. And half believe he's overpaid and wouldn't trade value for him.

This brings us to the main question each Sixers fan must ask this offseason: Do you care for whom Iguodala is traded?

Two deals that have been whispered about in NBA circles highlight the different directions this move could take.

Some league folks have hinted that the Sixers and Memphis Grizzlies could discuss a swap of Iguodala for Memphis' injured star Rudy Gay. The Grizzlies are making an impact in the Western Conference playoffs without Gay, who went down with a shoulder injury late in the season.

The salaries match: Iguodala will make $13.5 million next season, while Gay will make $13.6.

Gay is under contract through the 2014-15 season, meaning the Sixers would take on an extra year of salary (approximately $20 million) in such a trade.

But the biggest question is: Should the Sixers trade Iguodala for a similarly skilled player? Or should their focus be on an area of need - the center spot, for example - while also opening up minutes on the wing for returning sophomore Evan Turner?

Another trade that was discussed last season involved trading Iguodala to the Los Angeles Clippers for big man Chris Kaman.

Kaman has only one year remaining on his contract - $12.2 million for the 2011-12 season. He also would provide talent and experience in the low post, while relieving the franchise of a good chunk of the remaining millions on Iguodala's contract.

This offseason will be crucial in taking the Sixers from mediocre to good, and to do so won't involve just the decision of whether or not to trade Iguodala. They also need to hit a home run in what they get in exchange.


Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at kfagan@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/DeepSixer3, and read her blog, Deep Sixer, on Philly.com.

 

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