As the NBA trade deadline looms ahead, the media conversation around what the Grizzlies should do with Andre Iguodala has started up once again. It has been an interesting conversation, to say the least, and lots of people have had lots to say about it. Including some of the Grizzlies' young core, via locker room quotes and social media.
Dillon Brooks’ comments, and Ja Morant’s likes, will get attention tonight. But can you imagine being them and hearing a 36-year-old who averaged 5.7 points per game last season, with a 13.12 PER, thinks he’s above playing with you for $17 million?— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) February 4, 2020
You’d probably pop-off too. pic.twitter.com/EUFd1rJ0d4
For those who have been living under a rock this NBA season and haven’t kept up with this whole Iguodala mess, here is a brief rundown:
Which brings us to where we are now.
It has been said that there was a mutual agreement before the season started between the Grizzlies front office and Iguodala, in which the latter doesn’t have to participate in anything team-related while waiting for a trade or a buyout.
This is where the Grizzlies front office may have shot themselves in the foot, as that decision makes it a lot harder for them to do the thing they should have done from the start – order him to report and then fine him for every day that he doesn’t.
However, it is important to note the order in which these things happened, before declaring that the Grizzlies are the bad guys here. There is a provision in the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which seems written for situations such as this.
According to Article XI, Section 3:
“A player who withholds playing services called for by a Player Contract for more than thirty (30) days after the start of the last Season covered by his Player Contract shall be deemed not to have “complet[ed] his Player Contract by rendering the playing services called for thereunder.” Accordingly, such a player shall not be a Veteran Free Agent and shall not be entitled to negotiate or sign a Player Contract with any other professional basketball team unless and until the Team for which the player last played expressly agrees otherwise.”
It is unclear if the Grizzlies could pursue this option, since there is nothing in writing excusing Iguodala’s absence. Likely this would cause more drama than the front office wants to deal with, but if I’m part of this front office I would definitely investigate this option further. While we are at it, the league should keep the same energy with Iguodala's public comments that they had for Dewayne Dedmon after he made public comments about desiring a trade.
Here’s what they should NOT do under any circumstances: give Iguodala any sort of buyout or waive him from the team while he can still go join a playoff contender. Let him sit until this summer, and try his luck on the market as a free agent.
The Grizzlies' former Vice President of Basketball Operations John Hollinger seems to be thinking along these same lines.
If not traded, Iggy's camp needs to be a bit careful they don't burn bridges to the point he gets Ben Gordoned -- Charlotte cut him on March 2 a few years ago, mere hours after playoff eligibility deadline, just to nuke his chances of signing with a playoff team.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) February 4, 2020