The Golden State Warriors are reportedly working on plans to bring back one of the key pieces of their NBA Finals run.
The Miami Heat have reportedly declined Andre Iguodala’s option for the 2021-22 season, and several reports have indicated that the Warriors plan to talk with him once free agency officials opens on Monday. The move would fulfill one of the biggest remaining goals for Golden State this offseason — adding veteran leadership, and doing so while staying within the team’s tight financial constraints.
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Warriors Working on a Reunion
Shortly after reports that the Heat had declined the option for the 37-year-old, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that there was already “momentum” for him to come back to the Bay Area. Iguodala played for the Warriors from 2013 to 2019, winning NBA Finals MVP in 2015.
“The momentum behind an Andre Iguodala return to Golden State is bubbling strong already after Miami declined Iguodala’s 2021-22 team option,” Stein reported.
The Warriors reportedly plan to move quickly on Iguodala. Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reported that there are already plans for the two sides to speak during free agency. Iguodala was still productive at age 37, playing in 63 games last season for the Heat while averaging 4.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area speculated that Iguodala could slide into the second unit for the Warriors, where he would be able to provide some veteran on-court leadership and guidance to the team’s pair of lottery picks, especially No. 7 pick Jonathan Kuminga.
Warriors Looking for Veterans
A reunion with Iguodala could help the Warriors return to the formula that helped them reach five straight NBA Finals, surrounding the core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green with veteran players who fill roles at a reduced price. The team didn’t have as much success in attracting those veterans in the past two years, but general manager Bob Myers said he hopes Thompson’s return can make them a more in-demand destination again.
“We need some veterans. I don’t know who that will be,” Myers said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “We’ve got to find out if we can win a tie; if we offer somebody something, how do they feel about us? Like I said last year, we were close on some guys, but Klay’s injury, I don’t blame the players, they said, ‘look, we’re going to go somewhere else.’ ”
Because the Warriors are deep into the luxury tax, any additions will have to come on the taxpayer mid-level exception or veteran minimum contracts, though insiders believe there could be a few strong targets within those constraints. Luca Evans of USA Today’s Warriors Wire pointed to a trio of potential players to boost the frontcourt — Paul Millsap, Patrick Patterson and Nemanja Bjelica.
“An aging Draymond Green can’t afford to play heavy minutes again in the regular season as a smallball center, and would benefit from playing next to a center or bigger forward that could offer shooting where [Kevon] Looney couldn’t and switchability on defense,” Evans wrote.
Signing the 6-foot-6 Iguodala may not add much size to the Warriors, but would bring a player with a strong understanding of coach Steve Kerr’s system and would not have to worry about building chemistry with the team’s core.