Memphis Grizzlies: What happens if Iguodala chooses to retire?

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images /

Now that Andre Iguodala is likely to be with the Memphis Grizzlies until December at the earliest, what would happen, both to Memphis and Iguodala, if he retired before the season?

Now that the Memphis Grizzlies have made it clear that they do not intend on buying out the remainder of Andre Iguodala‘s contract, and plan on keeping him with the team for at least part of the year, a slew of new questions have been raised.

Mainly, these are questions surrounding when Iguodala will look to be leaving Memphis. He’s on an expiring contract, and will be a free agent this summer, so chances are he’ll get dealt before the deadline. Still, the question everyone seems to be asking is how early? December? February? November? But there’s one option that most people haven’t yet considered: retirement.

Iguodala is at the point of his career where retirement is a viable option for him. He’s a 15-year veteran who is coming off of one of his worst season statistically, and he certainly isn’t looking at a career that would highlight him as a significant part of an NBA championship team. At this point, Iguodala would probably be the fourth best player on an NBA Finals team. He was the sixth or seventh best on the Golden State Warriors, and now, in an NBA that is bursting with talented duos, Iggy would need a supporting cast of at least two All-Stars to move past the Western Conference Semi-Finals.

Not only that, but Shaun Livingston‘s recent retirement and Kevin Durant‘s departure opens up a nice storyline. The Warriors dynasty, which once stood tall and proud, crumbling after a single offseason.

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With the first two events happening in that storyline, it just leaves the question of Iguodala. If he stays, then there will be the weird Golden State Warriors threads left to be spilled out across the league, in a similar situation to being from the San Antonio Spurs’ front office a few years ago.

However, If Iguodala retires, then there’s definitely a cleaner cut to the Warriors dynasty, and fans who aren’t too fond of that time can simply move on without it soiling various teams around the league. And it’s not like he’d be without a job either. Not only does he have a (fantastic) book to market, but any sports network would be quick to secure him as a lead NBA analyst.

So what would happen to this Memphis team if he retired. Well, in the short term, nothing. Iguodala is not projected to be a starter, or even near the starting lineup for this Memphis team, and he only has one year’s salary left on his contract.

If they were concerned about the money, Memphis could try to block Iguodala’s retirement. In that case, Iguodala would file a retirement with the league, be released from his contract (the extra money would go to the team) and would be barred from joining the NBA again for a year. However, the public image crisis that would cause makes that scenario really unlikely.

The main problems that come with an Iguodala retirement start when you begin to look into the future. If Iguodala leaves, Memphis loses a valuable trade asset that could net them some potential building blocks for the future. Should Iguodala just retire, Memphis would have to go back to the draft to fill in the last couple roster spots that need a boost, which would set their development back a few years.

It’s likely that this won’t be a problem though. Iguodala seems set on playing with a contender one last time, and the Grizzlies have all but guaranteed a trade, most likely after the Dec. 15 deadline for trading new acquisitions.