The landscape of the "Trade Iguodala" debate changes with each jump shot. To my knowledge, no player of Andre Iguodala's caliber has ever been the subject of as many never-ending trade rumors from season to season. He's been hated on unfairly, much like Philadelphians Ryan Howard (for contractual reasons), Donovan McNabb (for smiling reasons) before him, and Eric Lindros (for concussioning reasons) but none of those guys were talked about as trade targets for three, going on four straight seasons.
This year, with the Sixers sitting at 10-4, there is absolutely no chance in hell that Iguodala gets moved. Read on.
[ed. note: Moved up because we know you love talking Andre.]Three Schools of Thought
If you were to create a ven diagram about the three groups of people, the "Don't Trade Iguodala" (DTI) circle would be in the middle, flanked by two very different "Trade Iguodala" (TI1, TI2) camps. DTI indicates that Iguodala is far too talented and far too important to this team to trade him, especially considering that the market for him (based on the lack of appreciation for his defensive abilities by NBA GMs) isn't exactly booming. Those of the DTI consider this team good enough to, either now or in before Andre's contract expires, contend for a championship if the stars align. They can acknowledge that they're still a big piece away, but with Andre on the team, Philadelphia is a more attractive destination. Without any viable trade partners to make this team better in the short or long-term, trading our best player simply isn't an option.
Then there's the TI1, to the left of DTI, the ragtag bunch who will defend to the death that Andre Iguodala is not a good player. Whether or not Evan Turner is the messiah varies on a case-by-case basis, but they're completely sure of what their eyes tell them. Missed foul shots, thinking he's a superstar, endless bricked jump shots, that contract.... these are just a few of the complaints of the TI1. Monta Ellis, expiring contracts, Lamar Odom, Monta Ellis, and Monta Ellis would all be fine acquisitions for the would-be superstar who has overstayed his Philadelphia welcome.
On the complete opposite side, to the right of DTI, is a shrinking circle of TI2 stubborners that appreciate Andre's game, value his place on a basketball team, and wish to whatever's up there that we had a team capable of contending for a championship while Dre is still in his prime. Only they don't believe we do. It's a nice team, fun to watch, and can give more talented teams fits on defense and on the fast break. But without a go-to guy, the TI2 don't think their teaminess can vault them anywhere past the second round of the playoffs which, for them, isn't good enough. Trading Andre for a high-volume shooter wouldn't be enough, but getting even younger and handing the reins to Turner and Jrue Holiday would qualify as their wet dream. Sometimes tomatoes are thrown at these people.
Not This Year
Doug Collins hasn't yet proposed to Iguodala, but I've heard he's at least thinking about making it Facebook Official. That's how much Andre fits into this team Doug has created with his own rib. With Adam Aron and Rod Thorn so dependent on DC for wins and excitement, dealing away their best player simply does not fit into that plan. The Sixers brain trust really and truly believe this team has "something special", "killer instinct", "the right stuff", "swagger", and other Lifetime Movie of the Week titles. Whether or not these Sixers can buck the trend and pull a 2004 Pistons on everybody's ass is one thing. What is less questionable is that this franchise is tied at the hip with Andre Iguodala, fat (but fair) contract and all.
Also, he's having, statistically, the best year of his career and it's not even close. Per B-R, his PER is over 20 (1st time in his career), his shooting percentages are higher than they've ever been except for his first two seasons when he wasn't used as much, his rebounding rate is the highest it's been (17.4 DRB%), and all with a usage rate under 20. Defensively, his rating has been boosted considerably (90 DRtg) because of the terrific team defense, but that's still extremely impressive. Looking at Win Shares per 48 minutes is where it gets scary. He's posting a jaw-dropping .221 WS/48, almost 80 points better than his previous career high. While it's unsustainable over the long haul due to the jump shot inflation, these numbers will do nothing to sway Sixers brass to trade a 28-year-old having the best 14 games of his life.
While Turner has proven himself to be less BUSTy than his detractors of last year had claimed, there's still a ways to go before he's the face of this team and anywhere near a 2nd or 3rd option. His development and subsequent improvement will always be a bit lagging with Iguodala standing firmly in front of him, with or without Jodie Meeks in the starting lineup. The idea that Iguodala, as he gets older, would take a backseat to Turner and Jrue in the offense on this team is an unlikely one. While he doesn't fashion himself "a superstar", he has been thrust into the role of a scorer in years past, and that's hard to shake. However, Andre is taking less shots this season than he has since his 2nd year and by all accounts, he's a great teammate. History tells us Doug Collins will begin aggravating his players by year three, but if he can harness them into roles that better fit their skill set, there is a chance Turner and Andre can co-exist as 2/3 with improved jump shooting from both.
Regardless, though the past three years was filled with blog posts about will they or won't they, 2012 will give us a break from that. With the (extremely unlikely) Dwight Howard sweepstakes looming, and word that Black Spencer would like to play with Andre, the Sixers are more than content to sit on their hands and watch as these guys win as many games as they can. Once the playoffs roll around.... we'll see what happens. Either way, Andre will be in Philly for a long time.