The Golden State Warriors could have a new veteran on deck in case Andre Iguodala decides to ride off into the sunset.
The team is still awaiting a decision from the 18-year veteran, who had previously hinted at retirement but has not officially announced what he plans to do for next season. The Warriors are holding open a roster spot if Iguodala decides to return, but one insider believes a former Brooklyn Nets forward could fill his place if he calls it quits.
Warriors Making Plans for Iguodala
As The Athletic’s Anthony Slater reported, the Warriors greatly value Iguodala and everything he has to contribute — even when he didn’t see much of the court. Iguodala was hampered by a series of injuries and limited to 31 regular season games last season, but still able to mentor his younger teammates.
At Iguodala’s suggestion, breakout guard Jordan Poole focused on getting to the free-throw line more often, adding another dimension to his strong offensive game, Slater wrote. Iguodala could even be hard on teammates when necessary, he added.
“His value to the Golden State Warriors resides in his ability to change behavior through his personality and words,” he wrote. “Nudge Poole into being more aggressive. Scold Jonathan Kuminga for being late to weight training and suddenly he’s arriving earlier. Share offensive tendencies and defensive tricks with Andrew Wiggins and now he’s guarding star scorers more effectively.”
While the Warriors would prefer if Iguodala decides to return, the franchise is also making preparations in case he does not. The team worked out a series of veteran players over the summer who would come to training camp to compete for a roster spot, and Slater wrote that former Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could be the best fit.
“Hollis-Jefferson, a multi-positional wing, best fits the Iguodala on-court mold,” he wrote.
Good Fit for Warriors
Hollis-Jefferson had four strong seasons with the Nets to start his career, the peak coming in 2017 when he averaged 13.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game.
His recent resume is lighter, however. Hollis-Jefferson has not played a full season in the NBA since 2018-19. The following season he had short stints with the Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves and signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2021, then spent last year playing in Turkey.
Though Hollis-Jefferson hasn’t appeared in an NBA game in more than a year, he is seen as a good fit for the Warriors. A Western Conference executive told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that Hollis-Jefferson’s defensive prowess could make him a good addition in Golden State.
“He can’t shoot, that is the thing. We are so in search of the 3-and-D kind of guy that I think we lose sight of guys who can contribute without making 3s,” the executive said. “And Rondae, he does a pretty good job attacking the rim, scoring in the paint. Maybe not the usual way we see today, but that should not hide the fact that he is an excellent defender, a 1-through-5 defender, he can guard all positions. He is a guy you can trust on the defensive end and that should get some value.”
Hollis-Jefferson would have plenty of competition to make the Warriors’ roster, however. The team has worked out a number of veteran free agents, including Ben McLemore, Elfrid Payton and Kenneth Faried.