When Andre Iguodala entered free agency this summer, no one really knew what to expect. It was hard to imagine the Golden State Warriors letting such a vital piece leave, and equally hard to imagine the former NBA Finals MVP and tech-enthusiast walking away from a title favorite conveniently located adjacent to Silicon Valley.
And yet, the Warriors were in a tight tax situation that would force Joe Lacob and Co. to dig deep into their pockets in order to keep Iguodala. And just a year removed from Timofey Movgoz getting a 4-year, $64 million contract, a desperate team throwing the bank at Iguodala seemed quite likely.
Ultimately, the Dubs’ invaluable swingman returned to the Bay with a 3-year, $48 million contract. On the surface, the signing was mostly void of drama. But in a thrilling exploration by Chris Haynes of ESPN, it’s been revealed just how close Iguodala was to signing elsewhere.
Haynes details the meetings Iguodala had with the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, and Houston Rockets, the latter of which he intended to sign with. It becomes clear throughout the piece that Iguodala was not simply testing the Dubs, or trying to drive up his price. He was ready to move on:
The Warriors were granted a last-minute assembly out of respect. Iguodala had reopened the lines of communication with the Warriors and told Myers that if he still wanted to talk to "get down here."
The Warriors had been in the dark for a day and a half and contacted representatives of free-agent small forwards Rudy Gay and Gerald Henderson as a contingency plan. But Myers immediately hopped on a plane from the Bay Area and Kerr was already in Los Angeles, having recently visited with free agent Nick Young. They didn't know it, but Iguodala's objective in sitting down with them was to personally say goodbye, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.
. . . There was little hope for a resolution at this point. . . If the Warriors didn't improve their offer, he was signing with the Rockets, sources said.
After an hour, both sides departed and a breakup appeared likely.
Iguodala gave the Warriors one final chance to up their offer – he was set on at least $16 million a year. Lacob agreed to the price, and a happily ever after was achieved.
Ultimately, Golden State was where Iguodala wanted to be. It’s clear he loves his teammates, and the opportunity to win, and his involvement in the tech industry is fueled by living in the Bay Area.
Still, it’s shocking to see just how close he was to finding a new home. And it’s fascinating to see the free agency process for a big name, especially one with as much business savvy as Iguodala.