Mar 09, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Andre Iguodala (9) brings the ball up court during the second quarter against the Utah Jazz at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Jazz 104-91. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Andre Iguodala is a phenomenal basketball player – I consider him one of the best 30 in the league. And, although he finished the previous two seasons with nagging injuries – it remains to be seen how effective he will be once his elite athleticism diminishes – he's undoubtably at the peak of his powers. At 28, he made his first NBA All-Star team, won his first Playoff series, and made the 2012 Olympic team.
However; in the final month of the regular season, an Andre Iguodala trade seemed like a foregone conclusion. It became even more obvious when the Sixers drafted Moe Harkless, signed Nick Young, and traded for Dorrell Wright – or so I thought. But, as the movement portion of the off-season begins to slow, and the Sixers front office collectively drools over a hypothetical starting lineup which includes Dre – and Kwame Brown (!) – a trade becomes less and less likely.
It doesn't make any sense.
Keeping Iguodala is wrong for a lot of reasons – the main one being, his presence doesn't allow a proper evaluation of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. Playing the three together – which everyone seems dead-set on doing – puts neither Jrue, or Evan, in a position to succeed. The Sixers need to find out if Jrue can be a primary ball-handler/facilitator, and whether or not Evan Turner can be a useful player with the ball in his hands. Neither is entirely possible with Iguodala stealing dribbles.
Jrue and Evan's development (or non-development) should be at the forefront of every move. In the next two seasons, both will become restricted free agents, and long-term decisions will eventually be made. A mis-evaluation of one, or both players – an inevitability with Iguodala around – will likely lead to poor decisions (i.e. max contract for Jrue, selling low on Turner, etc.).
Another reason keeping Iguodala doesn't make sense is the "Andre Miller dilemma". Although I loved Andre Miller as a player, he helped the Sixers win enough games to keep them out of the lottery (boooo), and the Sixers hung on to him until his contract expired – which, in turn, presented two dreadful options: let Andre Miller walk, without compensation, or unnecessarily sign Andre Miller to a contract extension. That's exactly where this Andre Iguodala ordeal is headed – the Sixers will either A) let him walk in two years or B) sign a 30-year-old Iguodala to a regrettable contract extension. And if they let him walk, we'll look back at the Andre Iguodala era and say to ourselves, "A decade later, all we have are a few highlights, one Playoff win*, and a whole lot of mediocre". Why not trade him for assets – when his value is SKY HIGH – before the "Andre Miller dilemma" presents itself, in two summers?
To put a cherry on top, over the last few months, I've been exposed to a couple second-hand reports, from people with "sources", who claim Collins doesn't like Iguodala, in private, and vice versa. Either, all of those reports are blatantly false, Dre and Collins have the kind of relationship where they delete each other from Facebook every time the other leaves the toilet seat up, or the bizarre Playoff run erased any semblance dislike for each other. But the whole thing seems a little off, especially because Collins praises Iguodala in an over-the-top fashion publicly. I'm guessing it's a combination of the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship where they delete each other from Facebook after every argument, and any ill-feelings were mended during the Playoff run.
But any way you look at it – from a basketball standpoint, contractual standpoint, or potentially a chemistry standpoint – retaining Iguodala doesn't make any sense for the Sixers. If they want to win now, they should trade him for a big man (they plan on starting Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown, for goodness sake). If they want to re-build, they should trade Dre for expiring contracts and draft picks. Both scenarios make a hell of a lot more sense than keeping him, because either way, his departure would help with the development and evaluation process of Holiday and Turner – which should be the Sixers primary focus.
It may seem like a harmless non-move, but keeping Iguodala is a bad decision – one that's only going to get worse.