Three more big names on the restricted free agent market have signed, or are reported to be on the verge, since we last spoke about Monta Ellis's contract.
Let's take a quick look and see if we can use these contracts to guess where Iguodala's deal will land.
My quick take: If you believe Dalembert's contract is bad, you have to question the deals Okafor and Biedrins received. Both guys have a chance to average a double-double every year, and won't exceed those numbers by much. Both play good defense. You can say the same about Sammy. The Bobcats and Warriors really didn't have much choice. They had to re-sign their guys, and if Ellis is going to be the bar, these contracts are probably in line.
Deng is a tough call. He's coming off a bad season, for a bad team, but the Bulls still want to build around him. With a glut in the backcourt, I suppose they needed to bring Deng back. Is he worth more than Ellis? I don't know. He doesn't shoot the three, he's a decent rebounder for his position, doesn't distribute much. I think the Warriors had to have Ellis back, from a PR standpoint if nothing else, I'm not sure the same can be said about the Bulls. Do their fans expect them to go from the lottery to a legit contender in the Eastern Conference? Does their franchise see last season as a blip on the radar? If they don't, and they're simply going to wait out the contracts of Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes, this may not be a great deal for the Bulls.
Now, what does this mean in the Andre Iguodala talks? First, we have to clear the air a little bit. Right now, the only viable options for Iguodala are to sign an extension with the Sixers or sign his qualifying offer. A sign and trade is extremely unlikely. If the Sixers were to sign and trade Iguodala they could only take back 50% of the first-year salary of his contract in value
. Meaning, if he signed for $13M, they could trade him, but only take $6.5M back. This could, theoretically work if they could work a sign-and-trade with a team who had about $5M in cap space, or a trade exception available for that amount. Or if they could get a third team with at least $5M in cap space available to take a salary dump from the Sixers, they could make it work. Both highly unlikely. As for value, I'm probably biased, but I think Iguodala and Josh Smith are worth more than any restricted free agent who has signed already.
Deng is a good swing man, but he doesn't defend like Iguodala, and he's a worse three-point shooter. Okafor and Biedrins are decent big men, but nothing special. Not a first, second or even third option on offense. Ellis is a rare talent, but again, not a threat from the perimeter and not a good defender. Smith and Iguodala are prototypes of the new NBA player. Unbelievable, freakish athletes whose physical skills are beyond their basketball skills, but year over year, they're catching up. The question with each is when will the two meet, or, will the two meet. If they can put it all together, they could be top ten players in the league. If they can't, we may have seen their ceilings already. I think this is more of an issue with Smith than Andre, however. Smith's ceiling is higher, but the odds of regression are also greater.
Iguodala's position change throws another cog in the works when trying to calculate his worth. As a small forward, I'm extremely confident in saying he's worth more than anyone on this list. 20 points/game, 5 boards, 5 assists and lock-down defense on the other team's best wing player. Invaluable. As a shooting guard, your guess is as good as mine. If he makes the transition and improves his 3pt percentage, he might be worth more. If he cannot make the transition, he's probably going to have to find a new team where he can go back to the three in a couple of years.
After seeing the four players who have already signed, and what they've signed for, I'm going to stick with my last guess. Six years, $75 million for Iguodala. I'd say there's a good chance they get the deal done for a price in that range. I think Smith signs his qualifying offer from Atlanta and tests the market as an unrestricted free agent next Summer. Food for thought:
Sasha Vujacic signed a 3 year deal with the Lakers for $15M
. Is Vujacic a good comparable to Lou Williams? He averaged 8.8 points/game in 17.8 minutes. Lou averaged 11.5 points/game in 23.4 minutes. Vujacic is a much better shooter, 43.7% from three, but their per-minute production was virtually identical.