After the Heat resigned Victor Oladipo on Wednesday, there were three Heat players who remained free agents: Udonis Haslem, Omer Yurtseven, and Andre Iguodala, the latter of whom officially went off the board on Friday.
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As expected, the 37-year-old will be returning to play with the Golden State Warriors, per The New York Times sports reporter Jonathon Abrams, who first broke the news. Abrams also reported that Iguodala plans to retire after the 2021-22 NBA season.
“He told The New York Times that he intends to sign a one-year deal to return to the Golden State Warriors, the franchise with whom he won three N.B.A. championships and in 2015 claimed the finals Most Valuable Player Award,” Abrams reported on Friday.
The former No. 9 overall pick out of Arizona finished last season averaging 4.4 points with 3.5 rebounds.
Iguodala Said Ending His Career With the Warriors Is ‘Something Special’
Iguodala spent six years with the Warriors before he was traded to the Heat in the summer of 2019. Miami bypassed Iguodala’s team option ($15 million) on August 1, which made the 6-foot-6 forward an unrestricted free agent.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported there were other teams showing interested in obtaining Iguodala before ultimately coming to an agreement with Golden State. “Source: Andre Iguodala — a three-time Warriors champion and 2015 Finals MVP — agreed to sign a deal to return to Golden State. The Brooklyn Nets were also a finalist,” Charania tweeted.
While joining the Big Three in Brooklyn came with a greater chance of earning another championship ring, for Iguodala, returning to Golden State was an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up. He told The New York Times:
Who would have thought I’d have the opportunity to go back to the place where I was able to have, whatever you want to call it, legacy years, in terms of the accomplishments, winning multiple championships, the relationships that I was able to build with some of my closest friends and teammates? The relationship with the fans, the relationship with the Bay, the opportunity to end it here, was just something special.
Iguodala Said Heat Culture Is Like the ‘Hunger Games’
With his 38th birthday less than six months away, Iguodala moving away from the Hunger Games-like training in Miami was all the more attractive.
With Golden State, “You had a lot of veteran guys who knew how to get their work in and everyone could go out there on their own pace,” Iguodala told The New York Times. “It was kind of just all-inviting vibes, where it was carefree, relaxing and it was kind of like Hawaiian-type vibes.”
In Miami, the vibe was the complete opposite.
“It was the other end of the spectrum, where it was ultra-focused,” he said. “We had a drill called Hunger Games, where it was exactly what it sounds like from the movie — when you’re talking about to the death. That’s when I learned to appreciate different approaches.”