One of the last potentially game-changing pieces left on the free agent market isn’t even a free agent: newfound Grizzlies wing Andre Iguodala. Sent to Memphis from Golden State so the Warriors could sign D’Angelo Russell, Iggy apparently has no desire to stay in Memphis, and his agent is working closely with the team to find “a situation that works best for both sides”, per Shams.
The two teams still left in the pursuit of Iguodala are the Rockets and Clippers. However, per Shams, the Rockets don’t want to go deep into the luxury tax for Iggy, while the Clippers are loath to part with newly acquired forward Moe Harkless in any deal for him. Both teams are instead searching for three or even four team deals so they can get Iggy while sending other pieces or salary out, but such deals are notoriously hard to achieve. There’s also the possibility of a buyout, if the Grizzlies want to “do right” by Iguodala, but it wouldn’t make much sense for them to let him go for nothing when they will certainly be able to acquire assets for him at the trade deadline. So, a stalemate has ensued.
The Clippers’ seeming refusal to send Harkless to Memphis, as the only real salary that could match Iggy, is an interesting one. Iguodala is a champion, a former Finals MVP, and a guy who the Warriors entrusted with big minutes in tough playoff series against teams like the Rockets and Raptors until the end. It’s possible that the Clippers are wary of giving up assets for a 35 year old who mostly coasts in the regular season, or don’t think he’s as big an upgrade over Harkless in the playoffs as Clips fans do. Harkless is only 26, and a very good defender at multiple positions, a quality that will help greatly in load-managing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George throughout the regular season. Even if he might be a downgrade in the playoffs versus Iguodala, it could be that the Clippers would rather have the regular season utility than the postseason upgrade. Or, they think it’s not an upgrade at all, and that if they integrate Harkless into their system, they can make him useful offensively in the postseason.
Perhaps most likely of all, the Clippers believe that Iguodala will eventually get bought out, and they won’t have to give up any assets for him at all. Why trade Harkless (and other things) for Iguodala now, when he’s not needed, when he might be available for free later in the year? There’s the chance Iggy signs somewhere else, but the Clippers are a prime destination for him, and he would seem to be a good fit with the culture.
Whatever the reasoning, the Clippers (per Shams, of course) don’t want to trade Harkless for Iguodala. The resulting stalemate doesn’t seem like it will end any time soon, but with this Clippers front office, you never know.