NBA trade grades: Heat win Andre Iguodala sweepstakes; Grizzlies hit home run with Justise Winslow

The Miami Heat were unable to squeeze Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari into their deal with the Memphis Grizzlies for Andre Iguodala, so instead they settled for a somewhat traditional three-team trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves involving seven players. Here's a look at the details: 

So let's get to it. Here are the grades for both sides of this trade given the most current information. 

Heat trade grade: B

  • Heat get: Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill
  • Heat lose: Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, James Johnson

On one hand, Iguodala is an upgrade from Winslow for the simple fact that he is healthy and presumably ready to play relatively soon. On the other hand, even if Iguodala is still the same player he was when we last saw him with Golden State, it could be argued that that version of Iguodala isn't significantly better than a fully healthy Winslow. 

So play out the timeline. Even if Winslow isn't back to full health until next season, that would mean the real value of adding Iguodala is this season, and does he really make Miami an immediate championship contender? Miami appears to believe he does. 

To me, Iguodala is a guy that can, potentially, put a team that's already a title contender over the top, but he's not the guy that takes a team outside the championship conversation and puts them into it. I don't think Miami was a title contender before the trade deadline, and I don't think they're one after it. Had they gotten Gallinari in addition to Iguodala, that would've been different. 

That said, there's a bigger picture in play here. The Heat signed Iguodala to a two-year, $30 million extension, and they're positioning themselves to have significant cap space this summer. If they get another significant piece, the Heat would be in position to reap the the championship-DNA benefits of Iguodala next season. 

The second year of the deal is a team option, and that's significant because it means the Heat can drop Iguodala from their books in 2021. Equally significant is fact that Crowder and Hill are both on expiring contracts, whereas Waiters and Johnson were signed through 2021. Add it all up, Miami has positioned itself to have some $50 million of cap space to chase prized free agent Giannis Antetokounmpo two summers from now. 

In the meantime, the Heat have essentially proved to themselves they don't need Winslow as much as they perhaps once thought they did. Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn have all solidified themselves in the secondary ball-handler role Winslow was beginning to fill, and Jimmy Butler is in place as a defensive anchor. 

Also, Jae Crowder provides some of the defensive toughness a fully healthy Winslow would've brought upon his potential return to the lineup, and he's another capable shooter in Miami's 3-point-heavy, drive-and-kick system. Miami now has a ton of two-way, like-sized players that provide Erik Spoelstra a lot of depth and lineup options, including going small across the board with Adebayo at center. Imagine Butler, Iguodala, Herro, Adebayo and Crowder or Duncan Robinson. You have spacing. You have length and defensive versatility. You can run. You can play pick-and-roll with Butler and/or Herro. That's pretty good. 

In the end, the Heat get a veteran champion while unloading two book-clogging contracts for two expiring deals, all with an eye on both 2020 and 2021 free agency. It's hard to argue with that. 

Grizzlies: A+

  • Grizzlies get: Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters (buyout), Gorgui Dieng
  • Grizzlies lose: Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill

I say A+ but if there was a higher grade I would give it. What a grand slam for Memphis, which continues to turn water into wine. Iguodala was going to leave this summer for nothing. The Grizzlies were up against it to hedge their bet and buy him out for the last few months. But they held firm, and wound up getting Winslow -- who's likely a far better player than anyone they could've gotten with a draft pick anyone would've given up for Iguodala -- at the 11th hour. 

Take a look at what the Grizzlies have done over the last year: They drafted rookie sensation Ja Morant, which made Mike Conley expendable. They then flipped Conley to Utah for Jae Crowder and future first-round pick to go with the second first round pick they got for taking on Iguodala in the first place, then put Crowder and Igoudala together and turned them into Winslow.Oh, and don't forget they traded up this past summer to draft Brandon Clarke, who slipped to No. 21 overall and is now the PER leader among all rookies. All of this after they landed another stud, Jaren Jackson Jr., two years ago. 

The future of this team is suddenly blindingly bright, and it's already coming to fruition. Entering play on Thursday, the Grizzlies are the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Even considering the big falloff in the West after No. 7 OKC, that would've been unthinkable to start the season. 

The only negative you could possibly take from this Iguodala move is that Memphis gave up two expiring contracts in Crowder and Solomon Hill for Waiters and James Johnson, who they immediately moved to Minnesota for Gorgui Dieng. Both Dieng and Waiters are on the books through 2021, but according to Chris Haynes, the Grizzlies pan to buy out Waiters. Either way, eating up a little bit of cap space for a Memphis team who likely won't figure heavily into the free agent market anyway, for this kind of return, is a small price to pay. 

Just an incredible job by this new Grizzlies front office.

Timberwolves: Pass

  • Timberwolves get: James Johnson
  • Timberwolves lose: Gorgui Dieng

Flipping Gorgui Dieng for James Johnson, two players who are both throw-ins for pure salary purposes in almost almost any conceivable trade scenario, is hard to even give a letter grade. So I'll go on a pass/fail scale, and it's a pass for Minnesota. 

James Johnson can still make some sense on paper with his size and position and (perhaps former) skill set, but still had no place in the Miami rotation. Dieng is an albatross of a contract, but it's only for one more year and I'll have you know the man is putting up 7.4 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 38 percent from three on 2.6 attempts a game. I watch a lot of NBA basketball, and those numbers shocked me. 

Watch this guy be putting up double-doubles for the Grizzlies within a week. This team is rolling such hot dice the pit boss as we speak is making a call upstairs. 

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