NBA Trade Buzz: Former Lakers Coach Says Team Needed Iguodala Trade
Iguodala could have taken Lakers to another level
Tracy Murray, an ex-NBA player and a former assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, chipped in his thoughts on the player who could have taken the team to greater heights this season. In a sit-down with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Murray singled out Andre Iguodala’s name as someone that the Lakers should have heavily pursued before the trade deadline.
“I would say Igoudala. They need that Championship, MVP, Finals experience. They need somebody that’s going to lock down defensively. Even though their defense is good, he can add to it. He needs somebody that’s not going to panic in situations during the playoffs. He’s not going to panic. Champions don’t panic. That’s the difference between the people that win and the people that don’t win…champions don’t panic. I saw the championship poise with Houston being a part of that team, I saw the championship poise with the Lakers being a part of that team – I wasn’t a part of their championship team but I still saw the poise they believed no matter what the situation is we’re gonna win. I mean we were down 34 to Dallas? – In the third quarter we had the biggest comeback in Laker history. Why? Because we believed that we were going to win the game regardless. You gotta have poise. We came back with Houston. We came back down 20 from Orlando in Game 1. Championship poise man…you can’t substitute that.”
Murray made this statement upon being asked on who between Iguodala or Jamal Crawford will be a better fit for the Western Conference frontrunners. Obviously, Crawford is yet to sign with an NBA team this season, a mind-boggling fact that has fans and experts becoming very confused. The 39-year old shooting guard does not play like a 39-year old athlete. In limited minutes for the Phoenix Suns last season, Crawford still managed to put up efficient numbers of 7.9 points and 3.6 assists per contest. He even capped off his year with three straight games where he eclipsed the 25-point mark, including a stellar 51-point performance in the last game of the season.
Choosing between Iguodala and Crawford is indeed a tricky decision to make. The Lakers also have a need for a capable and proven scorer off the bench, a shot-maker who can also make plays for his teammates. This need arises from the fact that the Lakers’ offense has suffered when LeBron James takes his rest on the bench. While veteran playmaker Rajon Rondo is still one of the best in facilitating offensive sets, his overall impact to the game is already declining. On top of this, Lakers young budding forward Kyle Kuzma has been inconsistent with his scoring. An ankle injury last offseason has certainly slowed down his progress, but we definitely expected more from him especially now that he is leading the team’s second unit.
However, the team still lacks a perennial lockdown defender who can guard arguably every position on the floor. While Kuzma is already gaining some ground on that facet of his game, he is still nowhere near the great to elite defenders we have in the league. Avery Bradley is a great defender, but his 6-foot-2 frame limits his range on that end. It’s not sustainable to depend on LeBron to guard best players every night. He facilitates everything on the team’s offense, and he will eventually exhaust himself out especially during the playoffs.
That is where Iguodala comes in. With championship credibility and experience to his name, the Lakers could have banked on Iggy’s defensive instincts. On top of his excellent tools on the defensive end, the 36-year old vet is also an all-around operator on offense. He can handle the ball well and throw accurate passes, while also hitting timely shots beyond the arc.
But we all know what happened as the Memphis Grizzlies eventually shipped Iguodala to the Miami Heat just before the February trade deadline. The Heat interestingly gave up combo guard Dion Waiters in that trade, who was then waived by the Grizzlies and then signed by the Lakers a couple of weeks ago. The Lakers also acquired stretch forward Markieff Morris to fill in for the team’s need for a potent 3-and-D swingman, paving the way for them to sign Waiters.
Going back to Iguodala, the 6-foot-6 forward has widened his skill set in each year that he played in the league. From being an athletic, high-leaping stalwart in Philadelphia, he became Denver’s go-to-guy. He then joined the Golden State Warriors where he grew into a glue-guy role, eventually winning the Finals MVP award in 2015.
Marreese Speights, Iggy’s teammate with the 76ers and the Warriors, also told Robinson that he sees the All-Star forward becoming a front office executive in the NBA.
“Then when I seen him in Golden State, I knew he was a whole different player because he went through Denver and he stayed up there for a year, he did what he did and got them to the playoffs and then came to the Warriors – he’s always been a really smart guy, he knows plays before they happen and all that kind of stuff; I can definitely see him as a GM or coach one day. Or maybe even an owner or something one day. That’s what kind of understanding – that’s how smart he is.”
While still an active player in the league, Iguodala is already serving as the First Vice-President of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). He was voted to that position just last year, replacing the outgoing LeBron, whose term has already expired. Looking from this standpoint alone, Iguodala has already gained a lot of connections and credibility around the league, a very essential factor in assuming a front office role for any team.
But of course, that is still a long way down the road of his career. Iggy just signed a two-year, $30 million deal with the Heat, solidifying the fact that he still has a lot left in the tank. Heat veteran big man Udonis Haslem sat down with David Wilson of the Miami Herald and discussed how Iguodala can help the team topple the other contenders in the Eastern Conference.
“Probably the easiest it would be with any transition is with a guy like Andre, with a very high basketball IQ. He knows how to win; he knows what winning is about. It takes sacrifices to win, so with a guy like Andre I think that transition will be way easier than with most guys.”
Iguodala again fills in a sixth man role for his new team, anchoring the Heat’s defense and leading the second unit. In the 14 games he has played for Miami, the veteran forward is norming 4.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists, including a solid 38% clip from the three-point line.