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Do the Houston Rockets need Andre Iguodala to win the title this year?

By Anthony Duckett
Golden State Warriors' Andre Iguodala (9) steals the ball against Houston Rockets (Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors' Andre Iguodala (9) steals the ball against Houston Rockets (Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)
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The Memphis Grizzlies have been playing hardball with the Houston Rockets regarding Andre Iguodala, and currently hold the keys to Iguodala landing in Houston via a buyout.

The Memphis Grizzlies have decided against buying out 3-time champion and future Hall of Famer Andre Iguodala, which significantly hinders the Rockets’ ability to acquire him, if the Grizzlies stand firm on that decision. But it begs to question, do the Rockets really need Iguodala to win the title this year?

Although he surely can still produce even at age 36, the obvious reality is the fact that his basketball life is on the decline. For starters, he’s shooting 30.7% from three for the last 2 years combined and has had his minutes decline in each of the last 6 seasons. On top of that, he’s played 447 total games over the course of the last 5 years, which includes the playoffs.

This is not to say Iguodala is at the point of diminished returns, as he could surely provide a quality 20+ minutes per night, but the more minutes he plays, the less minutes up-and-comer Danuel House plays. At 26 years old, House is a younger option than the 35 year old Iguodala. But not only that, House is significantly cheaper as Iguodala’s $17 million salary this season alone is more than the $11 million House is set to make over the life of his 3 year contract.

Does it really make sense to stunt the growth and development of House for Iguodala? House will surely be an integral part of the Rockets for the next 3 years whereas Iggy could very well be playing his final year in the league, so obviously House has more upside. Although Iguodala is a better defender than House, House is a major upgrade offensively over Iggy.

That could be the bigger reason the Rockets haven’t been willing to pay the luxury tax for Iguodala, as that is a steep price to pay for someone likely to play 20-22 minutes per night. Not to mention the fact that he doesn’t really fit what the Rockets do offensively as his three point shooting has been average at best over the course of his career. In fact, Iggy has never had a season in which he’s shot 40% or better from deep, and has instead had 10 seasons in which he’s shot 34% or worse. On top of that, there are legitimate injury concerns with Iguodala, as he’s suffered injuries in each of the last two playoffs, and is coming off a year in which he played in 89 games. In addition, Iggy played 629 minutes in the post-season, which were the most minutes he’s played out of the last three post-seasons, making him more of an injury risk.

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When you add all of that up, it’s easy to see why the Rockets haven’t been willing to make the necessary trade for Iguodala. I’m not convinced they need him to win a title, although having him would certainly help towards that goal. If Iguodala is bought out, I’d be in favor of bringing him here to Houston. But if that happens, the Rockets will face competition for Iggy’s services and he would have 100% control of his destination. Would he choose the Rockets after seeing them pass on the opportunity to make the necessary trade for him? I’m not exactly sure but I personally don’t think the title hopes hinge on whether Iggy is in Houston or not.

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