On Wednesday TNT analyst David Aldridge reported that the Los Angeles Clippers, who are on the market for a veteran small forward, have set their sights on the Sixers own Andre Iguodala. According to Aldridge’s report there is no indication on whether or not the Clippers will seriously pursue Iguodala, but there is at least an interest in the five year veteran out of Arizona.
Even though there is just the slimmest chance of a deal getting done at this time between the two parties, it is an interesting topic to think about. Iguodala is guaranteed over 40 million dollars in the next three seasons and if this trade were to be completed, the Clippers would have to give away a pricey contract of their own. The contract that works from a salary cap standpoint when compared to Iguodala’s, while also giving the Sixers an immediate missing piece to their puzzle, is the contract belonging to Chris Kaman. Kaman is due 23 million dollars over the next two seasons and would serve as the starting center for the Sixers, which they desperately need at this time. Please don’t throw Spencer Hawes at me either. Hawes is a solid, developing prospect but plays nowhere near to the skill level of Chris Kaman.
Kaman is coming off of one of his best statistical years in the NBA averaging 18.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. He also was selected to his very first all-star game. Compare this to Samuel Dalembert’s 8.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a night last season and you can see just how special of a player Kaman is and would be for the Sixers.
The Sixers immediate question if they were to deal away Iguodala would be how they are going to fill the now open small forward spot. Iguodala did not have a bad year himself last year averaging 17.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.8 assists a game. It would be a tough task to ask for another player on the Sixers roster to come in and match this type of stat line, however the Sixers may actually be better off then most people think. Despite having one of the best small forwards in the NBA, the Sixers also boast one of the deepest rosters in the League at that position. Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Andres Nocioni, and Jason Kapono can all play the small forward position. The decision on who would start at the position would be based solely on the No. 2 pick in the 2010 Draft, Evan Turner. Currently the Sixers see Turner as a shooting guard, but with the trade of Iguodala this view could change. The Sixers are hoping Turner’s 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 6 assists last season for the Ohio State Buckeyes can be repeated this season on the NBA level but that would be tough to accomplish with Turner playing the three. The problem with playing Turner at small forward instead of shooting guard is the issue of playing time as he will split minutes with Young, Kapono and Nocioni at the three spot and thus cut into his ability to produce.
Young, Nocioni, and Kapono are all capable of playing extended minutes and being effective. You’d have to believe that if the Sixers stuck with Turner at shooting guard then Thaddeus Young would be their man at small forward. Young’s primary position is small forward and he has been itching to take over that role for the team ever since being drafted three years ago. In Young’s three seasons with the team he has been utilized for the most part as a power forward. Too often Young finds himself over-matched at the position on the defensive end by opponents who are bigger and taller then he is. Even though Young still put up solid numbers (13.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists a game) last season for the Sixers there was always a question looming on whether or not Young would be the better fit at small forward over Iguodala. However, since Iguodala was entrenched at the three-spot and serves as the face of the Sixer franchise, this opportunity for Young to burn at the three never really presented itself.
In my opinion Young would thrive at the position, especially with a back-court of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. He’s a better scorer and shooter then Iguodala, but Thad is a much weaker defender. Nocioni would be the perfect player to spell Young for the Sixers, because he brings high energy and defense whenever he’s in the game. Kapono will continue to play the role he’s played throughout his career as a three-point specialist and unlike in coach Eddie Jordan’s system, I expect to see Kapono on the court this season when the game is on the line and the Sixers need a big shot.
If the Sixers decided to move Turner to small forward it would be interesting to see what would happen at the shooting guard position. Every Sixers fan knows that Lou Williams and Willie Green should not be starters in this League, but Jodie Meeks has shown that he should at least be in conversation. During the Sixers summer league action in Orlando, Meeks showed how much his scoring ability has improved from a year ago as well as his defensive prowess. Obviously he has a lot more to work on and a lot more people to impress before he is handed a starting role, but right now I believe that Meeks is the best shooting guard on the team not named Evan Turner.
The bottom line however is that in order for any of the above to happen Andre Iguodala would have to be traded and the question remains, “Is getting Chris Kaman in return for Iguodala the best option that is available to the Sixers across the League?” He’s cetainly the best and only option LAC has to send to Philadunkia’s home team. The Sixers wouldn’t consider an Iguodala for Baron Davis swap (Although it would give the Sixers a great, but very expensive back up PG). Likewise, the Clippers would never give up 2009 first overall pick Blake Griffin as part of a package deal for AI9. So if Ed Stefanski is going to trade Iguodala to the Clippers, it will be for Kaman which I really don’t have an issue with. Still, Stefanski better make sure there wasn’t a better deal to be made or this could be his last move as the Sixers GM.