The Grizzlies won’t buy out recently acquired Andre Iguodala but instead are “actively exploring” the trade market for the former NBA Finals MVP, ESPN.com reported early Thursday, citing unidentified league sources.
The Rockets, who according to the Houston Chronicle are looking to acquire Iguodala and sign free agent center JaVale McGee, are among the teams interested, as are the Mavericks, according to ESPN.com’s sources.
Set to make $17.2 million in 2019-20, Iguodala, 35, was sent to Memphis, along with a protected first-round pick, last weekend as the Warriors needed to clear cap space to acquire D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade.
Iguodala joined the Warriors in 2013-14 and was an integral member of their rotation during their run of five straight Finals appearances. He was named Finals MVP when the team took home its first championship of the era in 2014-15.
He took a step back offensively this season, averaging 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 33.3% from 3-point range. Iguodala, however, was still a solid defender and secondary playmaker.
The Grizzlies, under the leadership of recently promoted executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman, are making accumulating future draft picks and younger players a priority this summer. Given the significant interest in Iguodala by multiple teams, the Grizzlies likely will try and trade him for more assets instead of offering the 15-year veteran a buyout.
It would be significantly more difficult for Houston to add Iguodala if he receives a buyout and becomes a free agent because of the team’s salary cap situation, according to the Chronicle.
The Lakers are also expected to pursue Iguodala if he reaches the open market. LA general manager Rob Pelinka used to represent Iguodala before he joined the Lakers front office.
McGee, meanwhile, met with the Rockets earlier this week, the Chronicle reported. He averaged 12.0 points and 7.5 rebounds with the Lakers in 2018-19.
“I feel like there was a belief that I couldn’t play more than 10 minutes in the league because of asthma or because of anything,” McGee told the Los Angeles Times in April. “I feel like I broke that stigma this year, showing that I can play 30-plus minutes if given the time and be efficient. I definitely think I’ve proved something this season.”
The Rockets’ top target this summer was Jimmy Butler, according to multiple reports. But they missed out on him when the wing was sent to the Heat in a sign-and-trade.