The Golden State Warriors are getting the band back together.
Based on what Iguodala said to the Times, the most productive destination of his NBA tenure will also be his final landing spot before calling it a career.
“The relationship with the fans, the relationship with the Bay, the opportunity to end it here, was just something special,” Iguodala said.
Iggy Coming Home to Golden State
The Warriors may not have drafted Iguodala, but the team and the city have unquestionably come to define his long and illustrious career.
The 37-year-old guard/forward has played for four franchises during his 17 years in the league. The first eight of those he spent in Philadelphia with the 76ers, functioning for much of that time as arguably the team’s best offensive player. For a four-year stretch he was nearly a 20 point per game scorer, averaging between 17 and 19 points per outing, and making his first and only All-Star appearance during his final season in the City of Brotherly Love.
There was then a yearlong layover with the Nuggets in the connecting flight version of a city known as Denver before Iguodala continued his march west to the Pacific Ocean and the Warriors.
Though it wasn’t exactly the Oregon Trail, the path Iguodala took to West Coast shaped him into a player ready to shift roles from a primary offensive piece to a supporting cast specialist.
His years as a defensive stopper — or defensive genius, perhaps to be more accurate — redefined his career, as he played fourth and fifth fiddle to the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant on the way to five straight NBA Finals appearances and three NBA Championship rings.
He also won NBA Finals MVP in 2015, the year of the Warriors’ first title, after being tasked as the primary defender of then Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James.
Iguodala departed the Bay Area two seasons ago for the Miami Heat, making another run to the Finals in the NBA’s “bubble” — his sixth consecutive trip to the league’s biggest stage. Now, he hopes to help the Warriors return to that promised land once more in the last act of his career.
“Who would have thought I’d have the opportunity to go back to the place where I was able to have, whatever you want to call it, legacy years, in terms of the accomplishments, winning multiple championships, the relationships that I was able to build with some of my closest friends and teammates?” Iguodala said to New York Times Sports.
Warriors Continue Productive Offseason With Iggy Signing
Iguodala is the most recent addition in an active, if not flashy, draft and free agency period for the Warriors. The Miami Heat declined a $15 million team option on the aging swingman this offseason, freeing him up to sign a one-year deal with the Dubs on the veterans minimum.
He played just 21.3 minutes per game last year, averaging 4.4 points, but the nostalgia, leadership, locker room presence and rapport with Golden State’s main cast members will create value beyond what he does between the lines during actual games.
Iguodala joins Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica, who also signed veterans minimum deals with the Dubs during free agency. Young guns Jonathon Kuminga and Moses Moody, who were drafted with the 7th and 14th picks, respectively, are also additions to the roster this offseason.
The Warriors said goodbye to guard Kent Bazemore, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, and traded Eric Paschall to the Utah Jazz for a protected future second-round pick. Kelly Oubre Jr. also left the team in free agency for the Charlotte Hornets.