What if Iguodala still played for the Warriors?

We aren’t sure if Andre Iguodala is discontent with the Memphis Grizzlies but we do know that their young core of players are ready for the franchise to cut ties with the 36-year old, 16-year veteran.

Memphis acquired Iguodala in the summer that Golden State got rid of multiple pieces to free up some salary-cap space. Some sort of agreement was reached between Iggy and the Grizzlies to where he didn’t have to report to Tennessee when training camp started, while the franchise searched for a championship-contending team in the trade market. Truth is, Memphis was supposed to be horrible, so this wasn’t as tough a situation. Contrary to the presumption, young stars Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. are progressing quicker than expected and are leading the Grizzlies to a playoff birth.

Now, Iguodala and the Grizzlies are on the road to a nasty separation. Iguodala has refused to wear a Memphis jersey all season and has demanded a trade to a preferred destination. On the other side of the argument, the Grizzlies now have something more important to worry about in their minds. They’re in the playoffs right now and accommodating Iguodala isn’t at the forefront of their agenda.

Iggy has had his time for sure. He’s been a solid force in the NBA since his inception in 2004 but over the last four seasons, he’s missed 55 games and only plays 25 minutes per game. Last season he shot 33 percent from three and looked his age while guarding Kawhi Leonard in the Finals. I ensure you it’s safe to say; Iguodala isn’t the player he once was. Especially not the caliber of player that would justify “sitting out a year,” like Iggy has threatened to do.

Reader: Knowing what you know now about the trajectory and current state of Iggy’s career, how much better do you think the (12-39) Warriors would be right now with him on the roster? Three or four games better, at best? That’s still competing for last in the Western Conference.

What would the situation be if he never got traded? He’d be on one of the worst teams in the NBA, while this same Memphis team with two of the best young players in the NBA cruised into the playoffs like they’re doing.

Thinking about the Grizzlies, Iguodala could be so valuable for them. Adding a veteran wing to help assist a young core in multiple ways, and teaching them how to play and potentially win on the biggest stage would be one of Iggy’s most noble accomplishments in his distinguished career. There are only a few months left of the season. Iggy has 17-million reasons to play basketball.

While Chris Paul isn’t in the ideal situation in OKC, he has found joy and self-fulfillment in it, while finding a way to help the future generation of professionals develop. Iguodala would instead, rather be a bottom-rotational player for a contender and maybe, maybe not win a ring in which he already has three.

I’m not a Iggy hater. I’ve always been a fan but it would be asinine to say this isn’t taking the player-empowerment movement too far. Iggy should be on that court, earning at least some portion of that $17 million.

Addam M. Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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