After two consecutive seasons spent out of the playoffs, the Golden State Warriors figured to be major players this summer in the draft and free agency. One of those events has come and gone, but now the fun begins in the Bay Area.
The Warriors already appear to be keying in on one veteran to add to their line-up this upcoming week in free agency. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, momentum “is bubbling strong” for veteran forward Andre Iguodala to return to Golden State. The 37-year-old had his 2021-22 team option with the Miami Heat declined on Sunday, paving the way for him explore his options in free agency.
Iguodala, who played for the Warriors from 2013 to 2019, spent the last two seasons in Miami and saw his individual production take a major dip. This past year, he averaged just 4.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 21.3 minutes per game.
However, Iguodala is still widely regarded as a strong wing defender and many of his contributions don’t show up on the stat sheet. He’s exactly the kind of player that the Warriors are looking to add for depth as they return to full strength ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.
“Now we add a few veterans,” Golden State owner Joe Lacob told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater this week. “We’re going to do that. You’ll see in the next few days.”
The momentum behind an Andre Iguodala return to Golden State is bubbling strong already after Miami declined Iguodala's 2021-22 team option.
As Warriors owner Joe Lacob told @anthonyVslater: "Now we add a few veterans. We’re going to do that. You’ll see in the next few days."
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 1, 2021
Some of Iguodala’s strongest defensive years came with the Warriors last decade as he proved to be a vital piece of the dynasty’s three NBA Championships. He won the 2015 Finals MVP award with his heroic defensive effort and by averaging 16.3 points, 4.0 assists, and 5.8 rebounds during the series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
At the age of 37, Iguodala’s best playing days are behind him, but he will bring valuable experience to a Warriors roster that still holds multiple youngsters who will all take time to develop. Last year’s No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman will now be joined by 2021 first-rounders Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, making for a young contingent behind Golden State’s core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Iguodala would be needed to provide crucial minutes off the bench immediately upon his arrival, while the Warriors younger players continue to grow.
Golden State could still factor into a possible trade this upcoming week in free agency, but seem to be focused on adding veterans like Iguodala. Soon enough, we’ll see if he and others make way for the Warriors.