Denver Nuggets

Andre Iguodala trade: Five NBA teams that make most sense for veteran

Andre Iguodala trade: Five NBA teams that make most sense for veteran

Former Warriors forward Andre Iguodala finds himself in a bind. 

Less than 24 hours after indicating to NBC Sports' Monte Poole that he wasn't keen on the idea of joining the Memphis Grizzlies, a report circulated that the veteran forward would not report to the team's media day, nor attend training camp, opting to train away from Memphis until he gets a buyout or is traded. 

While we wait for Iguodala's negotiations to be resolved, here are five contenders that could use the forward's services. 

Rockets

The Rockets have made no secret of their obsession with the Warriors, and with the Western Conference champs in transition, Houston could be a prime landing spot. 

Currently, the Rockets have an open roster spot -- plus four non-guaranteed contracts on its books. With Iguodala on the roster, the Rockets would have an extra ball-handler to complement Russell Westbrook and James Harden. 

Houston tried to sign Iguodala in 2017 before the forward signed his current three-year, $48 million deal with Golden State. 

Jazz

The Utah Jazz have already had an impressive off-season, trading for guard Mike Conley and signing Bojan Bogdanovic, pairing the duo with young star guard Donovan Mitchell. 

The addition of Iguodala would bolster an already impressive defensive unit. Last season, Utah ranked second in the league in defensive efficiency. The unit, anchored by Rudy Gobert in the middle, was third in the league in blocks and held teams to just 45.2 percent shooting from the field. 

Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets were one of the league's pleasant surprises last season, winning 54 games and clinching the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. However, as one of the youngest teams in the NBA, the team wasn't quite ready for a deep playoff run. 

Iguodala can help with Denver's growth while providing an added defensive presence to a unit that finished sixth in points allowed last season. 

Lakers

What would be the cherry on top for a star-studded offseason in Los Angeles? Adding Iguodala. 

The forward would bring much-needed help to a defense that was middle of the pack in defensive rating this year. Add the fact that Rob Pelinka -- Iguodala's former agent -- is the team's general manager, and the Lakers seem like a perfect landing spot for Iguodala. 

[RELATED: Klay Thompson believes Warriors win NBA Finals if he doesn't tear ACL]

However, a source close to the forward pushed back on the notion shortly after he was dealt to Memphis, citing Los Angeles' inability to pay him more than the minimum. That could change in the coming months should Memphis grant Iguodala a trade or a midseason buyout.  

Clippers

After an impressive offseason of their own, the  Los Angeles Clippers could also be in the running for the three-time champion. 

Adding Iguodala would pair him with the defensive trio of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley, cementing the best defense in the league on paper. 
 

Warriors vs. the West: How Dubs match up against Nuggets in 2019-20

Warriors vs. the West: How Dubs match up against Nuggets in 2019-20

For the first time in five seasons, the Warriors find themselves in new territory entering the 2019-20 season. With Kevin Durant gone to the Brooklyn Nets, Klay Thompson rehabbing his surgically repaired left ACL and eight new players on the roster, the Warriors are not the preseason NBA title favorites. 

As the Warriors reconcile a new reality, the rest of the Western Conference has retooled with superstar talent. Over the next seven days, NBC Sports Bay Area will examine teams that are expected to challenge Golden State's Western Conference throne.

Tuesday's edition: The Denver Nuggets.

Offseason transactions

The Nuggets started the offseason picking up forward Paul Millsap's $30 million contract, keeping the team's leading rebounder in town another year. 

Three days later, they signed guard Jamaal Murray to a five-year, $170 million extension. Murray -- who the Nuggets drafted in 2016 -- averaged 18.2 points, including 36 percent from 3-point range last season. 

Denver also traded a 2020 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jerami Grant. In a supporting role, Grant shot 39 percent from 3-point range last season and should be an integral piece in Denver's run-and-gun style. 

The team also added Oregon big man Bol Bol in the second round of the draft. Bol averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game on 56.0 percent shooting before his season ended with a foot injury, which scared most teams off in June. 

Strengths

The Nuggets were one of the league's pleasant surprises last season, winning 54 games and clinching the second seed in the Western Conference. Denver's resurgence was due to coach Mike Malone's defense, which finished sixth in points allowed. 

While the team wasn't among the league leaders in scoring, Denver finished second in the NBA in assists. With the addition of Michael Porter Jr -- who missed last season recovering from back surgery -- the Nuggets' offense will look to take the next step in its progression. 

Weaknesses

The Nuggets struggled to score last season, finishing 20th in the league in points per game. To take the next step in their trajectory, Murray will have to be more efficient from the field. Last year, he shot just 43 percent from the field, leading to some skepticism following his big deal. 

Though the Nuggets surprised many last season, NBA observers didn't see the team as a legit contender. This year, the Nuggets will have heightened expectations in a Western Conference that features the retooled L.A. Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, along with the Utah Jazz.  

[RELATED: KD believes Warriors hit their ceiling in Kerr's offense]

How the Warriors stack up

Despite Denver's ascension last season, the Warriors beat the Nuggets three out of four times, including a late-season home win to clinch the top seed in the Western Conference. 

With Murray, Milsap, center Nikola Jokić and guard Gary Harris, Denver has the core to beat the Warriors. However, Golden State has the experience to overcome Denver's talent, and if the Warriors get Klay Thompson back in time, the team could stunt the Nuggets growth in a postseason matchup. 

NBA rumors: Rockets resisting Andre Iguodala trade due to luxury tax

NBA rumors: Rockets resisting Andre Iguodala trade due to luxury tax

Andre Iguodala currently is a member of the Memphis Grizzlies.

That remains strange to type.

With Memphis in full rebuild mode, it would be shocking if Iguodala remains with the franchise past the February trade deadline.

On Monday morning, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium provided an update on where things stand with the 2015 NBA Finals MVP:

"The Grizzlies have tried to find a trade partner for Iguodala and get some value back -- more than the first-round pick that they acquired from the Warriors to take on his salary.

"The Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets have engaged with the Grizzlies at different points this offseason. Neither have really gained traction.

"The two teams strongly pursuing Iguodala still are the Rockets and the Clippers, but both teams seem to be at a standstill in talks with the Grizzlies.

The Rockets are still not comfortable and have been resisting going that deep into the luxury tax to acquire a guy like Iguodala where they give up a draft pick. Their tax bill could rise to upwards of $20 million.

The Clippers on the other hand -- the only salary that makes sense for them in terms of shipping out is Moe Harkless, the forward they acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers. But I'm told they do not want to part with Harkless in any type of a deal for Iguodala.

"Both the Rockets and the Clippers have been searching for third and fourth team scenarios to acquire Iguodala. At some point, the Grizzlies could just release Iguodala in a buyout agreement and do right by him and allow him to pick his next team.

"They have been working closely with his agent in trying to find a situation that works best for both sides."

Let's unpack all of this piece-by-piece.

The Grizzlies received a 2024 first-round pick (top-four protected) from Golden State. It's somewhat bold of them to expect even more in exchange, but Iguodala is very valuable and they do hold the leverage right now.

If the Rockets end up refusing to acquire Iguodala because of a luxury tax bill, then owner Tilman Fertitta might as well just sell the team. The guy is worth over $5 billion. Pay up.

If the Clippers are unwilling to give up Harkless for Iguodala, well ...

... that would be incrediby silly and probably won't sit well with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

[RELATEDReport: Former team wants Iguodala back, but price too high]

Most likely, all sides simply are posturing and doing what you do in negotiations. It's quite possible that the front offices involved want to relax and let the dust settle before pulling any triggers.

Besides, we all know that Iguodala eventually will find a way to maneuver himself back to the Warriors next season ...

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram