Even before the Golden State Warriors officially learned that Andre Iguodala was returning for another season, they may have had a good sign about his plans.
Prior to Friday’s announcement from Iguodala that he would be back for a 19th NBA season, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr shared some telling information about the veteran’s offseason plans. Kerr had said that a roster spot is being held for Iguodala if he decides to come back, and the veteran apparently kept very close ties with the team during his decision process.
Iguodala Keeps Strong Ties With Warriors
Speaking to reporters ahead of the start of training camp on September 24, not long before Iguodala made his final decision, the Warriors coach shared that the Warriors wing has been keeping close ties with the team and still working at the team’s facility.
“I’m just hopeful,” Kerr said. “Beyond that, I really don’t know, you know, what Andre is going to do. 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.
“So he’s taking his time and that’s fine. So we’ll see.”
Other details about Iguodala’s decision process were already known as well. The Athletic’s Anthony Slater reported that Iguodala has given some details about when he will make his decision, saying he’ll publicly announce it to the world on his podcast. In a podcast released at close to 12 p.m. ET on September 23, Iguodala said he plans to come back.
Warriors Made Some Contingency Plans
While there may be indications that Iguodala is coming back for another season, the Warriors did make roster plans in case he does retire. An NBA executive told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that the team had other players in mind to bring into training camp.
“As I understand it, they have told a small handful of guys to be ready for camp if Iggy decides not to come back,” the executive said. “But if you talk to people with the team, I don’t think anyone knows, really, but the bet would be that he retires. That’s what most people are saying but, who knows?”
The Warriors held workouts over the summer with a number of free-agent veterans, including Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Ben McLemore, Elfrid Payton and Kenneth Faried.
Iguodala’s return was considered to be contingent on his ability to actually contribute on the floor this season. The NBA executive told Heavy.com’s Deveney that Iguodala doesn’t want to move into a player-emeritus role like Udonis Haslem with the Miami Heat, where he holds a roster spot but rarely plays.
“If he had come back from the injury last year and been a big contributor, even for a few games, in the playoffs, that might be different,” the executive said. “But he has a lot of outside interests and as much as he is a great teacher, he never seemed to be the guy who would sit on the bench and not play.”