At ages 32 and 33, respectively, Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala are the second- and third-oldest Warriors on the squad (behind 37-year-old David West).
“Age ain’t nothing but a number,” some say.
But in NBA years, 12 years (Livingston) and 13 years (Iguodala) amount to a lot of wear and tear on a player’s body. As Shaquille O’Neal is fond of saying (and knows from personal experience): “Eventually, Father Time defeats everyone.”
Both veterans have been integral to the team’s success in recent years, with Iguodala winning the NBA Finals MVP award in 2015. Yet, the hands of time are ticking fast and Warriors’ management must be weighing the pros and cons of continuing with veteran players who, despite still playing well now, could have a major decline at any time.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, trade restrictions have been lifted for both players, paving the way for ... well, anything.
Trade restrictions have now been lifted for the following: Cristiano Felicio, Nikola Mirotic, Kyle Korver, Mason Plumlee, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala, Blake Griffin, JaMychal Green, Tony Snell, Jrue Holiday, Andre Roberson, Patty Mills, Serge... https://t.co/hKYWbIhzWX— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) January 15, 2018
A case for Livingston
On the season, Livingston is down in all categories of the stat line, averaging 5.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2 assists per game. However, his minutes per game are also down, to 15.9 on the season (compared to his 21.3 career average). In other words, scoring a point or two fewer per game — and pulling down one less rebound and one less assist — is of little consequence given that he is playing five fewer minutes.
Reason to keep Livingston: He’s not exactly using a cane yet, he knows the schemes, and he maintains enough raw passion for winning that he picked up only the second ejection of his career after making contact with a referee during a game against the Miami Heat on Dec. 4.
A case for Iguodala
The case for Iguodala is a bit murkier. He has been vocal about the way age has forced him to embrace different methods of caring for his body, and he has battled nagging injuries — most recently, to his hip.
Statistically, Iguodala is down in all categories — most notably, in points per game, at 5.6 on the season versus a 12.7 career average.
Although he is playing roughly seven fewer minutes per game, the decline in scoring is eye-opening, considering the offensive spark the team has relied upon from him off the bench. When the starters are out of sorts, Iguodala has often been the engine to get the offense moving by both creating scoring opportunities for others and, at times, single-handedly putting up points when everyone else was slumping.
Reason to keep Iguodala: The enemies want him. Thus, Golden State has no choice but to keep the enigmatic veteran close. Despite age and a bad hip, the dry-witted Aquarius is a weapon the Warriors would not want to compete against.
If ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Golden State has a winning formula and should stick with it for this 2018-19 NBA Championship run. However, an opportunity to secure the talents of, say, Anthony Davis, would potentially toss all loyalties
and tired legs out the window.