It’s been a busy offseason for the Houston Rockets. First, they decided to bring back several of their primary bench players from last season in Austin Rivers, Danuel House Jr., and Gerald Green.
Next, they swung a blockbuster deal for former MVP Russell Westbrook, sending out Chris Paul and multiple first-round picks in the process.
Now, they’re said to be “strongly pursuing” veteran swingman Andre Iguodala, who was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this offseason.
“The two teams strongly pursuing Iguodala still are the Rockets and Clippers, I’m told, but both teams seem to be at a standstill.”— Stadium (@Stadium) July 15, 2019
Our NBA Insider @ShamsCharania with the latest on Andre Iguodala.
Despite Houston’s interest in Iguodala, they’ve been hesitant to pay the price necessary to acquire him. First, he has a cap hit of $17.2 million. According to Shams, Houston’s luxury tax bill would jump all the way over $20 million should they bring Iguodala aboard at his present deal. Shams had this to say:
“The Rockets are still not comfortable and have been resisting toward going that deep into the luxury tax to acquire Iguodala in a potential sign and trade... Their tax bill could rise upwards of $20 million by trading for Iguodala.”
Secondly, the Grizzlies are currently asking for a first-round pick for any team looking to trade for Iggy. Combine that asking price with Houston’s now-notorious desire to stay under the tax, and the current cost of acquiring Iggy looks to be prohibitive.
Iguodala would be a great fit in Houston, bringing veteran leadership, championship experience, and the defensive versatility the Rockets always desire on the wing, but the most likely course of action is the Rockets wait it out for Memphis to buy out Iggy’s contract.
They’ve been saying publicly that they have no intentions of doing so, but that’s likely just bluster to drive up his trade price. I have hard time seeing a rebuilding squad without title aspirations like the Grizz holding on to an expensive wing who would just be clogging up the rotation. Patience could pay off for the Rockets.
Another option is that the Grizz lower their asking price to a second-round pick (or maybe two). I could potentially see the Rockets jumping in at that point, but still, the most likely scenario has the Rockets holding their cards until Iggy is bought out.
Fertitta’s going to continue to be cautious about the tax. And remember, Iguodala once had interest in the Rockets before, so Houston likely feels they have an edge should he hit the open market.
We’ll see how this situation plays out, but we could be playing the long game this season waiting on Iggy.