Andre Iguodala: “We can be a really good team with a lot of hard work”

Andre Iguodala said the Warriors were atop his list of possible destinations. He’s been eyeing the Warriors for a couple years now. But he thought, as had been the case in the past, the cards wouldn’t fall right.

Suddenly, his phone rang, and he was a Warrior.

IGUODALA: “It just popped up. Didn’t expect it. You kind of hoped for it the whole time, but you didn’t think it would happen. You couldn’t help but think, ‘Man, it’s something else going on.’ I just didn’t think it could happen.”

Well, it did happen. The Warriors dumped three players, renounced the rights to two of its free agents, and parted with multiple draft picks — all to the Utah Jazz. That cleared the salary cap space so the Warriors could sign Iguodala to a four-year, $48 million contract. And after years of being attracted to each other from afar, Golden State and the versatile swingman were united.

IGUODALA: “It’s funny because when I was getting traded when I was in Philly, and I was like, ‘Where would I go?’ Golden State was in it back then.”

The courting began on July 1. Iguodala met with the Warriors and expressed their desire to get him, and Iguodala confirmed the feelings were mutual. On July 2, the Kings offered Iguodala four years, $52 million, per USA Today’s Sam Amick. But Iguodala said it was too early in the process — “It was just too fast. I didn’t want to rush into it. That’s all.” — so he didn’t jump at the offer. On Wednesday, the Kings pulled the offer. The Warriors hopes were still alive.

The two sides kept in communication. Iguodala chatted with Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (the two became friends on Team USA) and kept in communication with coach Mark Jackson. But with the Warriors $10 million over the salary cap and Denver unwilling to work out a sign-and-trade with the Warriors, Iguodala had all but given up hope. Especially since all the Warriors’ eggs seemed to be in the Dwight Howard basket. Iguodala said he was even weighing other options.

But then he got that call. Golden State changed the game and sent Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush (all with one-year contracts totaling $25 million) to Utah. The Warriors then hammered out a deal with Iguodala. All this happened in the span of less than 24 hours.

It’s still not official, not until the league moratorium ends on July 10, but Iguodala is feeling pretty good.

IGUODALA: “We can be a really good team with a lot of hard work. In the series that whole team had against us, you can see how this team can mesh well and play well together.”


Five minutes later …


What makes the Warriors want Iguodala? He can play both shooting guard and small forward positions. He gives the Warriors a wing player they can run the offense through, some who can bolster the Warriors’ transition game and finish at the rim. He becomes their best perimeter defender, with the athleticism to guard smaller players and the strength to guard bigger wings.

His outside shot is streaky and isn’t known for being able to consistently dominant on offense. But with Curry and forward David Lee, Iguodala won’t need to carry the Warriors on offense.

What makes Iguodala want the Warriors?

IGUODALA: “Mainly, the coach and the culture, the environment. I feel like they have a good culture there, a lot of great guys, great locker room. The way they’ve got those guys playing with such confidence, that comes from the coach. The way those young guys were playing against us, that’s confidence. I saw Klay Thompson running full speed down the court, caught the ball, took  two steps and shot the 3. His feet wasn’t even set. That comes from coaching. I want to play with that kind of confidence.”

“I’m a big fan of mark. Big fan of the guys they’ve got there. The way ownership was going a few years ago, it wasn’t looking too good. But the way they’ve turned it around real fast … And the fans in the playoffs, seeing that crowd erupt – you always wanna be in a good basketball environment. They have a great locker room. Their crowd was with them every single game, especially the playoffs. That was an awesome atmosphere.”


Marcus Thompson