Trading Iguodala would help Sixers in draft

Injuries held Andre Iguodala to a career-low 67 games last season.
Injuries held Andre Iguodala to a career-low 67 games last season. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff photographer)
Posted: June 20, 2011

THE POTENTIAL PICKS for the 76ers have been coming in swarms, working out for coach Doug Collins, president Rod Thorn, general manager Ed Stefanski and director of player personnel Courtney Witte, among others. Though they have been scouted and watched on film numerous times, the Sixers' brass still looks for the little things up close that might make their pick at No. 16 a little easier.

But a large cloud is hanging over them - Andre Iguodala is still a Sixer. And that complicates any decisions about the immediate future, including what they will do in Thursday's draft.

Whether he will return for his eighth season with the club when training camp rolls around in late September is still the biggest question facing the organization, which is looking to improve on last year's 41-win season, a 14-game jump over the previous year.

You would think, ideally, that if the Sixers are going to deal Iguodala it would be done before they make their first-round pick.

"If we were able to make a move before Thursday, I still don't know if that would alter what we are going to do," Thorn said. "There's no timetable to get something done before the draft."

The moving of Iguodala also could be hindered by the potential lockout, with the collective bargaining agreement set to run out at midnight June 30. The salary cap and economics of the league are sure to change, so until that is resolved, many teams might be apprehensive to make a move, especially one that involves a player who is owed $44 million for 3 years.

Iguodala suffered through a myriad of injuries last season, battling wrist, Achilles' and knee problems that limited him to a career-low 67 games. His 14.1 points a game was his lowest average since his second season and he wasn't the dependable go-to, end-of-the-game player the team so desperately needed in many games.

At times, Iguodala seemed detached from what Collins was trying to implement, often bringing his teammates down with him. When the University of Arizona product was engaged, he clearly showed that he was the best all-around player on the team. While his scoring was down, his assist (6.3) and rebounding (5.8) numbers were right on pace with what they have been throughout his career. Defensively, Collins said after the season that Iguodala should have been a first-team all-defensive player. (He was named to the second team.)

In the five-game playoff series against the Miami Heat, Iguodala was hampered by his sore knee, and it showed. He averaged just over 11 points a game and shot a dismal 42.3 percent from the floor. It was only in the second half of Game 5 when Iguodala seemed to shift into his highest gear, leading the Sixers to yet another comeback that, ultimately, fell short. Iguodala finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, missing only four of his 14 shots.

Following the game, when asked if he saw himself coming back to the Sixers, Iguodala generically answered how he saw himself coming back to the NBA, not specifying where he would like to be playing. He made an even louder statement the next day when, with Collins, Thorn and Stefanski waiting on him for an end-of-the-year meeting, Iguodala inexcusably did not show. Perhaps that was the final play Iguodala made as a Sixer.

Even with his salary, Iguodala is still an attractive piece to most teams, and is probably best suited playing on a team where he isn't the go-to player. The rumors have been swirling, with teams such as Golden State, the Clippers and others supposedly showing interest.

There is no doubt the Sixers are looking to upgrade the big-man spot. If they could do that by dealing Iguodala, then the draft choice would change to another need, which is a scorer. For now, with Iguodala still here, it appears their sights are set on a rebounding, shot-blocking, defensive-minded big man who can score a little bit.

As for those who could be available at 16, Thorn said he is excited by the prospects.

"There are a group of players who could still be available where we are that we didn't expect to be there," he said. "There could also be some players gone who we expected to be there. We haven't gotten it down to the guy at this point, that will come on Wednesday. But I think it's a good spot for us. We will be able to get someone who will be a good rotation player for us."

One trade rumor had Iguodala going to the Warriors for high-scoring guard Monta Ellis. In Ellis, the Sixers would get something they sorely lack - a player who can create his own shot and score consistently. He has played an up-tempo style with the Warriors, which is how the Sixers play at their offensive best. Should this deal be made, despite Warriors GM Larry Riley saying last week that they are not parting with Ellis, the Sixers' starting lineup could be Jrue Holiday at the point, Ellis, Thaddeus Young at the small forward, Elton Brand at the power forward and Spencer Hawes at center. That would leave the team still needing an upgrade at the center spot and a bench stabilized by Lou Williams and Evan Turner. Jodie Meeks, last season's starter at the shooting guard, probably would be without a spot and could become part of another deal.

Another rumor was Chris Kaman coming over from the Clippers. The problem is that Kaman doesn't necessarily fit into the speedy Sixers' style. However, if this does happen, you could see a starting lineup of Holiday, Meeks, Young, Brand and Kaman.

Workout update

Yesterday, the team worked out Temple forward Lavoy Allen, as well as forward Josh Harrellson and guard DeAndre Liggins, both from Kentucky, and St. John's guard Paris Horne, who replaced Purdue guard E'Twaun Moore. "Josh is a guy that we have interest in," said Courtney Witte. "And DeAndre is a player that's going to be in the NBA. It was a good day" . . . Today, the team will work out Lithuania's Donatas Motiejunas, a 7-foot power forward who might not be around by the 16th pick. Motiejunas, 20, withdrew his name 3 weeks before the draft last year and decided to return to Europe. He averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds for Benetton Treviso in Italy.

For more Sixers coverage, read the

Daily News' Sixers blog, Sixerville, at

www.philly.com/Sixerville.

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