For a while it felt like an Andre Iguodala return to the Golden State Warriors was inevitable. The Warriors sent him to the Memphis Grizzlies during the offseason, to clear the necessary cap space to execute a sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell.
Iguodala, you’re likely familiar with, never suited up for the Grizzlies. He never had any intention to. He stayed away from the team, awaiting a trade.
And where did he stay? In the Bay Area, where he kept his home, where his kids stayed in the schools they’ve been enrolled in over the past few years, and where his Silicon Valley investments reside.
He bantered on social media, went to 49ers games with Steve Kerr, and hung out with his good buddy Steph Curry. His good buddy whom he had had never been shy about singing the extreme praises of.
No sooner had Iguodala been traded than chatter picked up about his return. The Grizzlies couldn’t trade him back to the Warriors, nor could the Warriors sign him if he were bought out - the collective bargaining agreement mandates that a player can’t go directly back to the team he was traded from until the next season - but he would be a free agent in the summer, and the Warriors were the natural fit.
Iguodala liked the franchise, liked the city, liked the coaches, loved the players. Given his age (36), and how much he slowed down in the 2019 playoffs, it seemed likely that the Warriors could compete with any other contender’s offer.
Before the trade deadline passed, the Grizzlies were able to unload Iguodala to the Miami Heat, gaining valuable young player Justise Winslow in the process. All still seemed according to plan until it was revealed that Iguodala and the Heat already had an extension lined up: two years, $30 million.
The second year of the deal includes a team option, which means there’s a very decent chance that Iguodala hits the market as a free agent in the summer of 2021 rather than 2022. So the dream of a Warriors reunion isn’t fully dead.
But it’s not happening this summer, as had began to feel like fait accompli. When Iguodala strolls into Chase Center tonight, it won’t be the last time that he emerges from the visiting locker room when the game is over.
What once felt like a brief hiatus is now a full blown departure. And the Heat being in town is, consequently, a game that feels equal parts poignant and exciting.