In contract year, Iguodala hoping for new deal with Warriors

In contract year, Iguodala hoping for new deal with Warriors

OAKLAND – Andre Iguodala’s game defies convenient categorization. The box score generally doesn’t do it justice, yet box-score stats heavily influence value.

Which puts Iguodala, in the final year of his Warriors contract, in a bit of quandary. The 32-year-old small forward is a key member of the team and would like to receive another contract. How does he suppress the thought of a new deal while simultaneously hoping to get one?

“It’s human to have it in the back of your mind,” Iguodala told on Monday. “But I would never let that get in the way of us winning. That’s just the nature of my game anyway.

“Although I do try to sometimes, tell myself to be selfish when I’m out there, once I’m out there I’m always looking to make the right play. I may think, ‘Shoot, I should’ve shot it,’ but I end up passing it anyway because it’s the right play.”

Iguodala is a highly intelligent but largely intangible force who at his best plays lock-down defense, disrupts opposing offensive schemes, sets up teammates to score and occasionally pitches in with points of his own.

Coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers consistently express high regard for what Iguodala brings, but even they will have to decide whether the budget, beginning in 2017-18, will allow another contract for Iguodala.

It’s one thing for the Warriors to place immense value on Iguodala, the NBA Finals MVP during the team’s 2015 title run, but how would the rest of the league value a 33-year-old who spent three seasons as the team’s Sixth Man?

“They understand it here,” Iguodala said. “But the problem is you need another team, because if you don’t have another team, you can’t leverage. And it’s a business. I don’t care what you’ve done in the past.”

It’s conceivable that the Warriors, in drafting Patrick McCaw, believe they now have someone who eventually will give them much of what Iguodala provides. McCaw, 20, delights in guarding multiple positions while also playing a well-rounded offensive game.

Even Iguodala understands the comparison.

“It’s a little different,” Iguodala said. “As far as IQ, I definitely see it. He’s a very smart player. Very defensive-minded. Offensively, he’s underrated. He’s a great passer."

For now, the veteran is secure. He has a featured role on a team that is favored to win a championship. His contribution to the season will state is case to the Warriors.

“For me,” Iguodala said, “it’s just about playing with good intentions and hoping it works out."

NBA predictions: Cavs don't make Finals; Westbrook MVP

NBA predictions: Cavs don't make Finals; Westbrook MVP

It’s rare that the NBA champion, in this instance a team that slayed the ghosts of Cleveland past, to the delight of many beyond Ohio, begins defense of its title on the bottom of the marquee.

The Cavaliers won the title, but the Warriors are the undisputed stars of the show. They have dominated the offseason spotlight and will continue to do so. That’s that natural by-product of losing The Finals in historically devastating fashion and responding by reloading your nuclear offense with the cyber-nuclear weapon that is Kevin Durant.

[RATTO: Six things Warriors can do to mitigate the looming 'Warrior Fatigue']

Yet the season must be played before the next champ can be crowned or the MVP can receive his trophy. There will be interest and intrigue, rumors and speculation, allegations and insinuations.

With that, we open the door to the 2016-17 season. We will miss the departed icons – Kobe and KG and Tim – but there are games to play and votes to count, results to be debated and, of course, disputed.

Here are our key predictions for the upcoming NBA season:


Pacific Division: Golden State Warriors. After they lose two or three games in the first six weeks, they’ll be gold. Good luck stopping this offense. Assuming good health, Curry & Durant and Co. should approach 70 victories.

Northwest Division: Oklahoma City Thunder. With Kevin Durant, they were on the verge of a Finals appearance. Without him, Russell Westbrook and a very good supporting cast are good enough to win 55 games.

Southwest Division: San Antonio Spurs: It’s going to be strange, indeed, to see them without Tim Duncan. But they still have Pop. They’re not championship good anymore, but they are to be feared.

Western Conference Finals: Warriors over Spurs in 5.

[POOLE: Curry: 'There's nothing that's going to derail' 2016-17 Warriors]


Atlantic Division: Boston Celtics. Surprised? Don’t be. We’re not buying the Raptors. The addition of Al Horford, and a still-stingy defense, gives the Celtics the best team they’ve had since the Pierce-KG-Ray-Rondo years.

Central Division: Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s Ty Lue and basically the same crew. LeBron is still great after all these years. Moreover, take a look around this division. Nobody is a threat to even come close.

Southeast Division: Atlanta Hawks: We know. Horford is gone, Dwight’s tread has worn thin and Bazemore is making Klay Thompson money. The coach is solid. So, go ahead and take a look around this division. Who else is there?

Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics over Cavs in 7.

NBA Finals: Warriors in 5


MVP: Russell Westbrook, Thunder. OKC won’t dip as far as you might think. So when they do better than expected, all eyes will turn toward Russ. Runner-up: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers.

Rookie of the Year: Buddy Hield, Pelicans. Coach Alvin Gentry needed a shooter, and Buddy is it. Turn him loose and hope he avoids the Bayou injury hex. Runner-up: Kris Dunn, Timberwolves.

Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens, Celtics. A top-five coach handed a new toy by GM Danny Ainge, Stevens will see to it that his team wins some of those close games lost last season. Runner-up: Billy Donovan, Thunder.

Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs. The most versatile stopper in the NBA, and it’s hard to see that changing. Runner-up: Avery Bradley, Celtics.

Most Improved Player: Jusuf Nurkic, Nuggets. A future All-Star, 7-footer just turned 22, is confident and willing to mix it up. Runner-up: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks.

Sixth Man of the Year: Andre Iguodala, Warriors. Never underestimate a skilled 32-year-old chasing a championship in a contract year. Runner-up: Boris Diaw, Jazz.

Curry: 'There's nothing that's going to derail' 2016-17 Warriors

Curry: 'There's nothing that's going to derail' 2016-17 Warriors

Here in the age of ubiquitous social media and rampant hyper-scrutiny, following a summer during which they tilted the balance of power in the NBA, the Warriors embark on a season in which they may be the most inspected and analyzed team in American sports history.

Their ability to handle this overload of attention will determine whether the next eight months are good, great or magical – or a colossal disappointment.

Regardless of talent level – the Warriors four All-Stars – it is incredibly difficult to consistently crush opponents while also navigating potential distractions, managing the inevitable discord and deflecting the harsh radiance of what surely will be ceaseless public glare.

“The only thing that matters is what happens in the gym every day,” coach Steve Kerr says. “And that’s our job as a coaching staff, to address dynamics as they arise, whether it’s on the floor or off. And I’m sure there are going to be lots of off-the-floor dynamics that we’ll have to get through this year.”

The sideshows are well under way. There is Kevin Durant’s much-debated decision to leave Oklahoma City and sign with the Warriors. There is the back-and-forth over how this will affect Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. There is the curiosity about Draymond Green, partly regarding his role but mostly regarding whether he can keep his white-hot emotions from overriding his considerable intellect, a subject well-chronicled as the preseason came to a close.

“You could nitpick all you want,” Curry says. “You could chime in here and there. But at the end of the day, we’re all competitive. We’re all our own person. We’re all in this thing together. It’s a ‘You take shots at Draymond, you take shots at the whole team kind’ of mentality.”

There it is, Curry indicating the Warriors are ready and willing to circle up, close ranks, link arms and spend 82 games unleashing their abundance of firepower upon the rest of the NBA.

The Warriors are a team always seeking a reason to turn up their ferocity, scanning the globe for slights and insults and anything else that will lead them to believe that you don’t believe. They will have plenty of ammunition.

They’re coming off a devastating loss in the NBA Finals, where they became the first team to take a 3-1 series lead and not finish the season with a championship. They engineered the biggest acquisition of the summer, signing megastar forward Durant. They’re reading that their incumbent Green is on a path that could destroy everything they’ve built.

And, for the heck of it, they’re being told they no longer have a rim protector.

Here’s what the Warriors hear: Their 2015 title was a fluke, they’re trying to game the system to create a super team, their good chemistry is a hoax, they’ll be giving out free tickets to easy buckets. And, more important, that some folks may be out to get them by prodding them to say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing or otherwise wreck what they believe is a championship roster supported by an enthusiastically ambitious culture that begins with CEO Joe Lacob

It was Lacob’s comment last season about the Warriors being “light years ahead” of NBA competitors that after the Finals loss became a whispered phrase of derision, a soft jab at the CEO’s propensity for glorifying his product. But that line has company. There is the Draymond Factor, the KD Decision and the fact that Andre Iguodala and Curry are in the final year of their contracts.

And there is, above all, the suspicion that the magnification of the Warriors will lead to an insane thirst for information/comment that could nudge any guileless or agenda-pushing member of the organization into deep and treacherous water.

Kerr has on multiple occasions referred to preponderance of attention devoted to the team, adding that the players “have their guards up” when dealing with media. Whether players dilute their comments will depend on that player. All are on alert.

“But at the end of the day, it’s just enjoying yourself and just trying to enjoy the game of basketball, because it can be fun," Kerr said.

If these Warriors have fun while being unified and productive, they can indeed be magical, capable of exceeding 70 wins. They can top 60 even while surviving a few bumps. They can probably win 50 even while slowly unraveling.

There was, after all, only one basketball issue during the preseason that give reason for pause. New starting center Zaza Pachulia is going to have difficult handling big men highly skilled in scoring, such as Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins. That, however, is a small problem given the paucity of such centers in today’s NBA.

Other than that, these Warriors are built to punish defenses, assaulting teams with a barrage of 3-point shots. As long as they can keep their minds on the principles of basketball, as designed by Kerr and his staff, they’ll be playing deep into June.

“We just keep moving forward,” Curry says. “There’s nothing that’s going to derail us. That’s basically the gist of it. So our goal is to not let anything come into that locker room that’s not from us, and we do a pretty good job of that.”

That has been the recent history of this group. But history has never put an NBA team through what the Warriors are about to face.