Andre Iguodala Plans to End His Career With Golden State
Andre Iguodala has found himself in recent months chatting with his few remaining NBA peers, those who have carved parallel paths, from adolescence to the experience of parenthood, from playing for free in high school gyms to playing. for millions before thousands.
He made an appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast. He caught up with Carmelo Anthony during a match break. “Like the old guys do at the free throw line,” Iguodala joked.
Iguodala first met Anthony and Redick on the AAU circuit almost two decades ago. Now, they represent the last members of the high school graduating class of 2002 still in the NBA. Iguodala told them how they wanted their careers to end and who would be the last to play.
Iguodala, 37, will be in contention. He told the New York Times that he intends to sign a one-year contract to return to the Golden State Warriors, the franchise with which he won three NBA championships and in 2015 won the Most Valuable Player Award in the final.
“Who would have thought that I would have the opportunity to go back to where I have had, whatever you want to call it, years of legacy, in terms of accomplishments, of multiple championship wins. , relationships that I have been able to build with some of my closest friends and teammates? Iguodala said, adding, “The relationship with the fans, the relationship with the Bay, the opportunity to end it here, was just something special.”
Golden State made final appearances an almost annual event during Iguodala’s six-year stint from 2013 to 2019. The race ended after the 2018-19 season when injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant made it so. derail the aspirations of a third consecutive championship.
That summer, Durant joined the Nets and Golden State traded Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies. Miami then acquired Iguodala as part of a trade.
Inside the 2020 NBA bubble, Iguodala played his sixth straight final when the Heat fell to the Lakers in six games. Then last season, the Milwaukee Bucks, future league champions, swept Miami from the playoffs in the first round.
Miami has declined their squad option for Iguodala’s contract for 2021-2022 and plans to sign one of the most coveted free agents, point guard Kyle Lowry, and keep restricted free agent Duncan Robinson.
Golden State and Miami represented opposing basketball philosophies that led the two competitive teams to line up.
“You had a lot of veteran guys who knew how to do their job and everyone could go at their own pace,” Iguodala said of his run at Golden State. “It was just a kind of just inviting vibe, where it was carefree, relaxing and it was kind of like Hawaiian-type vibes.”
Not so much in Miami.
“It was the other end of the spectrum, where it was ultra-focused,” he said. “We had an exercise called The Hunger Games, where that was exactly what it sounds like from the movie – when you talk to death. It was then that I learned to appreciate the different approaches.
Iguodala returns to an organization hoping to regain his magic with a familiar but older core.
Golden State failed to advance to last season’s playoffs after dropping out of playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies. Stephen Curry has returned to his MVP form for much of the 2020-21 season and recently accepted a four-year, $ 215 million extension. Thompson is making his comeback following back-to-back leg injuries that sidelined him for the past two seasons. And Draymond Green is in contention for another gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
These relationships never ended.
Over the past two years, Iguodala has continued to debate and discuss the philosophy of basketball with Green. He spoke about life and golf with Curry, enjoying the way he built his brand. He plans to get on Thompson’s boat for a practice or two. “Actually, I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
Equally significant on his return, Iguodala said, was the bond he formed with other members of the organization. Eric Housen, the team’s director of operations, is “probably just as important as Steph Curry, in terms of what he’s done for the organization,” Iguodala said. Golden State player development coach Jacob Rubin plotted and advocated for Iguodola’s return almost from the time the team finalized the Memphis trade.
Iguodala said it’s important to have “real relationships beyond basketball so you know people don’t have ulterior motives and it’s just genuine and organic.”
The Warriors also have an influx of youngsters. Golden State drafted second-place center James Wiseman last year and selected wingers Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody in last month’s draft lottery.
Iguodala said he was eager to coach the young players on the squad like veterans Kevin Ollie and Aaron McKie did for him when he entered the league – something he says is often overlooked – and using the “Navy Seal-like militaristic approach,” he learned in Miami.
“The way they develop their young players making sure they have the right approach to the way they do their job is second to none and I really enjoyed that,” said Iguodala, “because there is a fine line between your superstar and your eighth, ninth guy coming off the bench and all of our guys were always ready.
These are lessons, Iguodala said, which he can also use outside of court. Iguodala is also returning to Silicon Valley where in 2016 he helped create the annual Players Technology Summit. He plans to continue to connect athletes with venture capital and expand a technology portfolio that includes 71 investments, 12 exits and, he said, a 70% return since 2014.
“Historically, we’ve been taught to stay in a certain lane and that lane, which we never had access to and now we take the reins and run with it,” he said.
After missing the final for the first time in seven years, Iguodala considered retiring – “a little refreshing so that my mind could take a breath of fresh air,” he said – and would have been at comfortable if that had been his decision. He averaged 4.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 63 games in Miami last season. On the side of his peers, Anthony is considering signing with the Lakers, and Redick, a free agent, is expected to continue his career.
“I think I still have time,” Iguodala said. “Where I’m comfortable is that I can decide when I’m ready to go. I think I want to leave with just a little leftover. I don’t want to go out on one leg. I know I still have a few years. It’s just my decision if it’s one, two or three or whatever. I shouldn’t even say three. One or two.”
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