The NBA’s free agency negotiation period begins Monday at 3PM PT, although signings can’t be official until Friday August 6th. With the Golden State Warriors draft conundrum officially behind them, their next challenge lies ahead this week in finding players who can fit their very tight budget.
They’ve made it clear they’re looking for veterans who can help the team immediately while their younger players get their feet wet. They want guys who can fit into the Warriors culture of unselfish offense and stingy defense; someone who will mesh with the proven core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and the returning Klay Thompson. WAIT — I think a perfect candidate for that just became available.
HIS NAME IS ANDRE IGUODALA. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Miami Heat have declined the former Warrior’s team option for next year:
The Heat are declining the $15M team option on F Andre Iguodala’s contract for next season, making him a free agent, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 1, 2021
Andre Iguodala is expected to speak with the Golden State Warriors during free agency, per source.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) August 1, 2021
We’re finally getting to close to realizing the pipe dream Warriors fans have been not-so-secretly hoping for since Iguodala was traded to Memphis in the 2019-2020 offseason. The 2015 Finals MVP was integral to helping create a culture of unselfishness and sacrifice with the Dubs during his six years with the team. His humility of contributing from a bench role despite being an All-Star and an Olympic Gold medalist crystallized Golden State’s Strength In Numbers ethos.
After declining to play for Memphis (much to Ja Morant’s chagrin), he spent the last two years in Miami, where he helped them reach an NBA Finals in 2020. In two seasons with Miami, the 17-year veteran averaged 4.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in just under 21 minutes per game. Obviously if the Warriors sign him, this isn’t the same springy Iguodala from several years ago who would go head to head with the likes of LeBron James for 40 minutes a night.
So what could we expect from him if he returns? Here’s an excerpt from his season review over at the Heat blog Hot Hot Hoops:
He underwent the least productive season of his career in 2020-21. The 37-year-old tallied career lows in scoring, assists, field goal percentage (38.3) and PER, while registering the second-fewest rebounds and tallied his second-lowest true shooting percentage.
It didn’t help that Iguodala, whose string of six consecutive NBA Finals appearances was snapped this year, was coming off the truncated 71-day offseason. His impact, which had peaks and valleys throughout the season, mostly rested outside the box score this year.
They also shared what they considered to be his best game from last season:
When I look at that clip I get pretty hyped honestly. Sure he’s getting older, but Iguodala’s taken excellent care of his body over the years and his IQ is Professor Charles Xavier level. His defensive chops are still elite (his handsy strip-steals are never gonna go away). His passing is brilliant and his voice is one that commands respect and trust both on the court and in the locker room.
Of course, there’s always the question if whether or not the Warriors can afford him. His services will most likely be in high demand as a high character, defensive minded vet. His former agent Rob Pelinka is the GM of the dethroned but undaunted Los Angeles Lakers; you know they’re gonna give him a call. With Golden State’s salary cap issues, what kind of deal would the two reach that would make both the franchise and player happy?
Iguodala's situation will be very interesting. Obviously, the Warriors will have interest in bringing him back, but would they dip into the MLE to do so?— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) August 1, 2021
And if not, are Andre's ties to the Warriors enough to consider returning on a minimum when he should have better offers.
The momentum behind an Andre Iguodala return to Golden State is bubbling strong already after Miami declined Iguodala's 2021-22 team option.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 1, 2021
As Warriors owner Joe Lacob told @anthonyVslater: "Now we add a few veterans. We’re going to do that. You’ll see in the next few days."
Do you want Andre Iguodala back?
This poll is closed
Absolutely! At any cost! He’s going to supercharge this team’s development back to contenders.
I love him but no, not if we have to spend too much of the little free agency money we have!
Why are we even talking about adding this guy, I think he should retire. This team is ruined anyway because they didn’t draft LaMelo Ball.