NBA: The Impressive Tactic the Rockets Used to Become Andre Iguodala Trade Frontrunners

The offseason has been full of movement across the league that included the Golden State Warriors making the move to trade veteran forward Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies to help facilitate additional cap space for the acquisition of All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell. In the weeks that have followed the transaction, there have been several teams such as the Houston Rockets eyeing Iguodala as a possible trade target.

Grizzlies at a standstill with Andre Iguodala

Following a disappointing loss in the 2019 NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors, the Warriors went through an offseason of much change to their roster. Headlined by the departure of star forward Kevin Durant, the team made supplementary moves to stabilize their future.

This led Golden State to execute a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire Russell, which resulted in moving Iguodala to the Grizzlies to gather the necessary cap space to fit in their new star guard. For the last several weeks, Memphis has been stern on keeping the three-time NBA champion on the roster with the expectation that he will participate in training camp.

This has put things at a standstill for Iguodala despite significant interest from other teams such as the Rockets, LA Clippers, and Los Angeles Lakers.

Rockets pivoting their way to land Andre Iguodala

Grizzlies forward Andre Iguodala eyed by Rockets
The Rockets are hoping to make a move to add Andre Iguodala to the mix. | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Since the Grizzlies acquired Iguodala, the Rockets have continued to remain in the picture as a possible trade landing spot. Despite being cap strapped, Houston has made roster moves headlined by the blockbuster trade that sent Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for former league MVP Russell Westbrook.

This has only fueled the Rockets’ efforts to stay in tune with how things unfold with Iguodala although a buyout doesn’t appear to be an option on the table. Iguodala’s nearly $17.2 million salary for the 2019-20 season is a major hurdle to climb, but the Rockets have made a sly move with the signing of 36-year-old backup center Nene Hilario to a two-year, $20 million deal.

Outside perception may give off the notion that they overpaid for a player who is well past his prime, but Houston has exploited an obscure rule in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, the fact Nene sat in the free-agent market for over two months allows them to inflate his salary making it acceptable to unload him as a cap space filler in a possible Iguodala trade.

What should also be noted is that only $2.56 million of the contract is guaranteed, while the remaining $7.44 million of his 2019-20 salary is based on incentives. On top of that, the second year of his contract only becomes guaranteed on Feb. 15, which may make him a more attractive trade asset.

Will the Rockets land Andre Iguodala?

Rockets stay in pursuit of Andre Iguodala
Will the Rockets land Andre Iguodala? | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Rockets have certainly positioned themselves well to lay the groundwork for a deal, but it appears that the Grizzlies are standing firm with having Iguodala on the roster.

There is simply no pressing deadline for the Grizzlies to make a decision with the 35-year-old as he’s in the final year of his three-year, $48 million deal. The team looks more than comfortable in keeping Iguodala on the roster as he brings plenty to the table beyond his play with his veteran presence and championship experience to their youthful group.

This puts things completely out of the Rockets’ hands, but if the Grizzlies were to pursue a trade at some point in the coming months they would be well-positioned to make a move. All of this ultimately hinges on Memphis’ plans moving forward with the situation.