Andre Iguodala has not given any indication whether he plans to retire after winning his fourth NBA title, but could have a unique role waiting if he chooses to return for what would be his 19th season in the league.
The Golden State Warriors brought back the 38-year-old veteran for the 2021-22 season with the hopes that he could contribute on the floor while helping mentor the team’s group of young players. Iguodala had a disappointing season as he lost long stretches due to injury, but could have the chance to return to the Warriors as something of a player-coach to continue mentoring his young teammates.
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Iguodala’s Future Remains Unclear
Though he dropped hints throughout the season that he was nearing retirement, Iguodala appears to be enjoying his fourth win in the NBA Finals and has not addressed his plans for the future. Even Warriors general manager Bob Myers didn’t seem to know what Iguodala was planning to do.
“I hear he wants to play; I hear he doesn’t want to play,” Myers said. “I don’t know if he knows. He was really good, and I know it’s been written and said, but his value off the floor was pretty powerful.”
Iguodala could return to a role as less than a full-time player. Speaking to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, one Western Conference executive said that head coach Steve Kerr would offer Iguodala a coaching job “in a heartbeat” if Iguodala wanted, but also envisioned him returning in something of a hybrid role.
“Those two get along very well, they understand each other. I think Steve would be OK with Andre doing the Udonis Haslem thing where he is playing but not playing, just a coach in uniform,” the executive said.
Haslem has remained a fixture on the Miami Heat roster despite not appearing in more than 16 games since the 2015 season. He appeared in only four games in the 2019 season and one in 2020, but his roster spot has been protected because of his leadership.
Kerr has already hinted that the Warriors have a spot waiting for Iguodala if he does choose to come back, though emphasized that they would not rush him. Kerr has praised the work Iguodala has done with the team’s young players, including rookie Jonathan Kuminga and second-year center James Wiseman.
“”It’s a really big decision for him. If he decides to come back, we’d be thrilled,” Kerr said, via The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.
Retirement Could Still Win Out
Iguodala has dropped hints that he may be ready to retire. Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Ron Kroichick in April, the Warriors veteran bemoaned his many injuries but said he was looking forward to a strong playoff run.
“I haven’t been out there as much as I’d like,” Iguodala said, “but sometimes even if things don’t work out to a T, you still know your presence is being felt and you’re getting the job done. I feel like that. …
“It’s shaping up to be a special way to go out, whether it’s this year or next year or whenever.”
The Western Conference executive noted that Iguodala has a rich life outside of his basketball career, and could eventually move into a coaching career but likely not right away — unless Kerr comes calling.
“Thing about Andre is, he has so many other interests, investments, his entertainment stuff, he has his family,” the executive said. “He’d take some time away if he was retiring, but Steve is probably the only guy who could convince him to stay and be a coach right away.”