On a day of uncertainty within the 76ers franchise, one thing was certain: A trade involving swingman Andre Iguodala for Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis has been discussed and, in some form at least, is on the table.
At midday Tuesday, news broke that the Sixers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, is in serious discussions to sell the franchise to an investment group led by billionaire Joshua Harris. Multiple sources close to the negotiations cautioned that hurdles must still be cleared before the ownership deal - if there is one - could be finalized. Those sources put the time line of completion at more than a week.
Despite this uncertainty, sources stressed that the team's basketball operations, led by president Rod Thorn and general manager Ed Stefanski, would continue operating freely.
And the most pressing decision for the Sixers' front office is the future of Iguodala.
Thorn said that he speaks with "15 to 20 teams" a week regarding trade possibilities and that nothing is imminent with the Warriors or any other team.
But according to multiple league sources, the deal between the Sixers and the Warriors is still alive and includes a swap of Iguodala (approximately $44 million remaining on his contract through 2013-14) for Ellis ($33 million remaining through 2013-14). The deal could be executed straight-up because Iguodala and Ellis' contracts match the NBA's trade parameters. As of late Tuesday, it was unclear whether the deal on the table included just those two players or whether one team or the other was hoping to expand the parameters.
If executed as a straight-up swap, the Sixers would be getting the scoring guard they need, while the Warriors would be getting a sizable perimeter defender to complement emerging point guard Stephen Curry.
During the 2010-11 season, Ellis averaged 24.1 points and 5.6 assists a game. Iguodala averaged 14.1 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.8 rebounds a game.
As first reported in The Inquirer two weeks ago, the Sixers have prioritized acquiring a scoring guard, and Ellis is on a short list of candidates.
Because both franchises are in a state of flux - the Warriors recently changed ownership and hired coach Mark Jackson this week - there seem to be additional hurdles surrounding this particular trade. Even so, sources have made it clear that the Warriors need resolution relatively quickly because trading Ellis would alter their strategy for the NBA draft.
Golden State holds the No. 11 pick in the draft, scheduled for June 23.
On Tuesday, Iguodala was at Syracuse University attending "Sportscaster U," the broadcasting career development program organized by the NBA Players Association.
Iguodala said that he received a text message regarding news of the potential trade on Tuesday morning, but that "nothing is happening until it actually happens."
"I'm not putting too much thought into it," he said.
As for news of the franchise's potential sale, Iguodala had caught wind of that as well.
"It's another variable that is out of my control," he said. "You never know what can happen when you have that option that's being thrown out there. Because with new owners, they're going to want change - and do they want to try to work with what they have or do they want to blow it up? So you never know."