Andre Iguodala is coming back to the Golden State Warriors.
The veteran forward had been holding off on his decision about whether to retire or come back for a 19th NBA season to help the Warriors defend their title. Though he remained tight-lipped throughout the summer, Iguodala announced his decision on the eve of the opening of Golden State’s training camp.
“I myself will be returning for my 19th season,” he announced on the Point Forward podcast.
Warriors Prepared for Iguodala’s Return
While Warriors head coach Steve Kerr emphasized that he was not rushing Iguodala’s decision, there were signs that he was planning to return. Speaking to reporters this week, Kerr revealed that Iguodala had been in the team facility working with training staff to prepare.
“He’s been in here working out and kind of getting training staff to work with him and look at him and I think he’s getting a feel for what he wants to do, and we told him from the beginning, take as long as you want,” Kerr shared.
NBA insider Marc Stein also shared last week that the Warriors were expecting Iguodala to return for another season.
“The Warriors, I’m told, do expect Iguodala to play for one more season but are prepared for any outcome and are also open to bringing the 18-year veteran back on his timetable,” Stein wrote in the September 18 edition of his newsletter, The Stein Line. “The Warriors, as mentioned above, are on the short list of teams starting training camp a few days early because they play a pair of exhibition games against the Wizards in Japan on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2.”
The Warriors open training camp on September 24.
Iguodala Could Play Important Role
Iguodala will be coming back after what had been a disappointing regular season, with a series of injuries limiting him to just 31 games last year. Iguodala averaged just 4.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, but took on an important role off the court as he served as a mentor to the team’s younger players.
Iguodala helped second-year center James Wiseman as he worked through a long and turbulent rehab for a knee injury, one that wiped out the back end of his rookie season and all of his second year.
“Well, I know he wants to be out there,” Iguodala said in February, via Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area. “He’s grinding. He’s on the court now. It’s good to see. The more I get to see him, obviously, the more I’m finding flaws. That’s the type of guy I am. Finding a flaw and trying to fix it. Even yesterday, he and I were working out together and I saw a few flaws and I’ll be sure to start keying in on that. You get to this level and there’s not as much emphasis on the small things because historically they assume you have it already instilled in your game coming from college, and you got two or three years of tutelage and you got the fundamentals.”
Iguodala wants to play more than just a mentorship role in the upcoming season, however. One NBA executive told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that Iguodala only wanted to return if he could be a real contributor on the court.
But Iguodala also made it clear that while he’s back for the 19th season, there won’t be a 20th.
“I’m letting you know now, Steph, this is the last one,” Iguodala said on his podcast.