Before I even start talking about this trade, I am obviously advocating that the Kings don’t pick up the options/make qualifying offers to Cole Aldrich, Toney Douglas, James Johnson. I would consider bringing back both Cole and Toney at minimum deals at best.
Andre Iguodala is planning to opt out of the final year of his contract. He will be opting out of 16.1 million dollars for an opportunity at seeking security for the final years of what has been a solid career. In many ways Iggy represents some middle ground of the best case/worst case scenario for how Tyreke Evans career will end up.
If the Kings choose to get better right now, this trade is how I see them taking that first step toward a quick rebuild.
Denver Receives: Jimmer Fredette, Marcus Thornton
Sacramento Receives: Andre Iguodala (via sign and trade)
Now you’re probably asking, well why would Denver want 2 undersized guards? Well here’s the sell… the Nuggets will need to boost their bench as Wilson Chandler should move into the starting line-up and both Fredette and Thornton can come provide that lift as a bench scoring combo. If Andre Miller doesn’t retire (not likely for another 30 years), you have a 3 guard line-up you can use to get the ball into Fredette and Thornton’s hands for catch and shoot opportunities. Additionally, Corey Brewer is a free agent and thus will be able to command some interest around the league due to his defense and possibly more salary than Denver is willing to re-up him for.
Additionally, don’t underestimate the factor of Masai Ujiri leaving the Nuggets for Toronto as a major reason for Denver’s offseason going into chaos mode. The Nuggets could get desperate and not want to lose Iguodala for nothing, especially if earlier indications are that teams will break the 4 year 40 million dollar mark for the former All-Star.
The Kings cannot acquire Andre Iguodala straight up as a free-agent unless they don’t re-sign Tyreke Evans (50/50 at this point). Iggy is obviously not taking around 6 million per year to come to Sacramento. He will command somewhere between 8-10 million per year.
What are the arguments for bringing in Andre Iguodala? It’s pretty self explanatory but if you say so: All-world defender, decent shooter (he’s been at or around 45 percent the last 4 years), he gives you 15, 5, and 5 and still guards the best perimeter offensive player, he can allow Tyreke Evans to firmly slide into a two guard position and will just plain improve the attitude and the committment to defense for the Sacramento Kings. I mean, do we really need to go into advanced stats on this? He’s still 29 years old and has anywhere between 3-5 good seasons left despite probably expecting a dip in his overall production.
The arguments for getting rid of Fredette and Thornton? Well what does Marcus Thornton give you besides his ability to get hot and make huge shots down the stretch. Not a whole lot… a lot of his defensive plays are made by just anticipating passing lanes. He’s not a very good individual defender and might be an even worse help defender. If Marcus isn’t making shots, he’s not helping this team in any other way. Jimmer Fredette is might be a less athletic version of Thornton with a much better basketball IQ and feel for the game. However, Jimmer’s inability to quickly change directions with the dribble is a major issue when teams are trying to pressure him into turnovers. The Kings have also not used him correctly to be fair… I mean they tried to make him a point guard. I think Jimmer is a rotation player right now at best but needs to go somewhere else to gain the appropriate offensive scheme to let him shoot the ball at will. His defense is just awful, but not for lack of trying of course. His offensive decision making definitely improved dramatically in his second season despite limited minutes again (Keith Smart rotations baby!) and he just seemed a lot more comfortable, but is he ever going to get the time on this team behind Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans and even possibly Toney Douglas to show he can be a full-time starter? The answer in my opinion is no, and thus, forthe Kings its time to move him. For Jimmer, I’m sure he would welcome a change of scenery to his home base of Denver, CO (he lives there in the offseason, correct me if I’m wrong).
So in conclusion, I think this trade favors the Kings because they get something they haven’t had (excellent defense) while Denver would get more offense (something they already had) and try to address their defensive needs through the draft. Once again, the Masai factor is a huge thing here and the direction of Denver’s offseason is going to have to be determined immediately. Would Denver ante up to keep Iguodala for another 4 years and around 32-40 million bucks? If not, the Kings should be calling immediately. Would Denver get a better offer than this one? Possibly but regardless, this is still worth a try if the Kings are trying to get better right now.