How Memphis is complicating the Houston Rockets’ pursuit of Iguodala

Houston Rockets Andre Iguodala (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Andre Iguodala (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets have made no secret of their desire to acquire 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, but the Memphis Grizzlies are complicating the Rockets’ pursuit of Iggy.

Throughout his career, Andre Iguodala has been a Swiss Army Knife, playing a pivotal for the Golden State Warriors for the last seven years. Iggy was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in his first year with the Warriors and also finished runner-up for the Sixth Man of the Year Award in both 2016 and 2017. In fact, Iguodala was beaten out in 2017 by current Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon.

The Rockets could really use Andre, as they lack depth at the forward position. Iguodala can shoot the three at a decent clip, as he’s a career 33.3% three-point shooter and even has upped it to 35.3% in the playoffs. But the biggest attribute Iguodala would bring to the Rockets is his lockdown defense, which he still possesses even at the age of 36. Having the option to insert both Iguodala and PJ Tucker in a defensive line-up could be a lethal combination at Houston’s disposal.

The Memphis Grizzlies have also taken notice of what Andre has to offer other teams, and are complicating Iguodala’s exit, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

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

It’s not necessarily surprising that the Grizzlies have taken this stance, as they likely want to get something back for Iggy, but considering how late in the off-season we are, it seems like a pipe dream for Memphis. What would they get back now that they wouldn’t have already gotten over the summer?

For the Rockets, this is a big obstacle, as they don’t essentially have much to trade away aside from draft picks and the rights to Iman Shumpert.  I’d assume if Memphis was willing to take on this package, it would have already happened. Based on how no other team has ramped up their efforts to land Iguodala, I’m assuming the Grizzlies’ asking price is too high.

Even if the Rockets were able to work out a trade, it wouldn’t be ideal, as Iguodala is set to make $17.1 million this season, which would surely put the Rockets deep into the luxury tax. As Stadium insider Shams Charania states in the video below, Houston isn’t exactly comfortable with that:

"The two teams strongly pursuing Iguodala still are the #Rockets and the #Clippers."

Our Insider @ShamsCharania with the latest on Andre Iguodala as interest and trade talks continue to heat up.

— Stadium (@Stadium) July 15, 2019

The decision to not buy out Iguodala’s contract is certainly not going to help draw future free agents to Memphis, but it’s not like the Grizzlies have been viewed as a popular destination anyway, so in that regard, Memphis doesn’t have much to lose.

Above all else, the situation is unfortunate for Iguodala, as he surely doesn’t want to spend his 16th season playing for a non-contender after playing in the NBA Finals for the last five years. I understand Memphis not wanting to help a team like the Rockets improve, but the Grizzlies aren’t going to be a contender even with Iguodala’s services.

Next. Could Corey Brewer be returning to the Houston Rockets?

This is why I expect Memphis to come around to buying Iguodala’s contract out eventually. At least I hope so, for the sake of the Rockets.