Orlando Magic: Avoid Andre Iguodala in free agency
The Orlando Magic will need to add to their team through free agency this summer, but they should avoid Andre Iguodala.
Iggy has won two championships and a Finals MVP Award with the Warriors, and at 33 years old may look for one final payday before retirement. His best chance at doing this would be away from a Warriors team that has to pay both Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant this summer.
While Iguodala would bring a wealth of experience to a Magic team that needs veteran leadership, they should look elsewhere in the free agency market.
Iguodala has been a fantastic player for the Warriors, and he was an All-Star during his previous incarnation as the Philadelphia 76ers best player. If he were to join the Magic, he would once more assume more control of the offense, and the Magic would improve in the short term.
He would also help on the defensive end, and during his four seasons with the Warriors to date he has been a 35.4 percent three-point shooter.
Given that the Magic were a bottom five team (32.8 percent) in that category last year, there’s no doubt he would help in this area too. He’d also sell jerseys, and raise the profile and feel of an organization that has finished at the bottom of its division five years in a row now.
But it’s clear the paths of the Magic and Iguodala don’t match up. Iguodala is a win-now kind of player, and of the teams reportedly interested in him, the Magic don’t fit that bill.
His current role, as a sixth man type, is exactly what he should be at this point in his career. His recent injury history only reinforces this, and is a key reason the Magic should stay away.
Iguodala has started one game in the last three regular seasons, and even though that was the choice of his employers, back issues have crept up in recent times.
If you give a 35-year-old injury-prone Andre Iguodala a contract for $20mil/year, you shouldn’t be a GM anymore.
— Venti Covfefe (@thehalestone) June 27, 2017
The Magic had the ninth-highest payroll in the league last season, and at this point haven’t moved any of their key earners either.
Iguodala made just over $11 million on that title-winning Warriors team. If he signed on for similar money, he would go straight in as the team’s fourth-highest earner. Only Bismack Biyombo ($17 million), Evan Fournier ($17 million) and Nikola Vucevic ($12.5 million) would make more than him next season.
It’s also likely that Iguodala would want more money from a team, given that the four-year, $48 million deal he has just completed with the Warriors favored the franchise over the player.
With the salary cap coming in below expectations as well, should the Magic really be spending precious money on a glorified role player whose injury history is only becoming more checkered?
Another reason Iguodala would be a bad fit is because you only need to look at the players currently on their roster to see he would take minutes from young guys with potential.
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Evan Fournier is in the middle of the new deal he received and so he would likely have to share minutes if Iguodala was added to this team.
Iguodala has split time at the 2- and 3-spots throughout his career, but even if he played alongside the aforementioned players he would take court time away from Terrence Ross.
Ross was one of the few bright spots for this team last season, and he is a career 37.4 percent three-point shooter.
Despite the Magic needing all the help they can get to return to the playoffs, on the surface this just looks like a bad fit.
If he comes in as a starter, and really he would be with the money he’d be making, Iguodala would only take minutes away from Isaac and Gordon.
Which brings us to our last key point: This team isn’t going to dramatically improve even if Iguodala joins the roster.
The best they could hope for would be a first round playoff exit, but with the Boston Celtics looking like the rising team in the East, there’s no point in trying to peak just as they are. Even if LeBron James moves out West in the summer of 2018, the Magic are nowhere near contention.
Why not give Isaac and Gordon time to see if anything special develops, while likely returning to the lottery to pick up more young talent?
It may not be what the fans want to hear, but Iguodala isn’t the kind of player who can impact the team enough to warrant mortgaging part of their future on what he can bring to the team now.
Perhaps five years ago that thought process would have been different, but there’s little doubt that Andre Iguodala is a luxury the Orlando Magic can’t afford right now.
They need to stay in the hunt and look at more cost-effective and higher impact veteran players. They’re out there, and with the salary cap squeezing the life out of several teams, the team would be best-served to wait a while and see how this plays out.