Andre Iguodala is a wanted man, by the Warriors, who have spent four seasons benefitting from his presence, and also by a few teams around the NBA seeking to hit the double jackpot.
That is, adding Iguodala to their team while subtracting him from the Warriors.
Understand, though, it won’t be easy to pry Iguodala away -- even if seven teams, according to an ESPN report on Tuesday, plan to chase the veteran forward when he becomes a free agent this weekend.
And while Iguodala is as delighted as he is flattered by the interest, he has a clear vision of what he wants from himself, and it goes beyond the numbers on a contract. Remember, he chose to come to the Warriors in the summer of 2013 for $48 million over four years despite being offered more by other teams.
Though Iguodala, 33, might not be willing to make the same financial sacrifice, any team that recognizes the significance of such a move has to know straight cash alone won’t be enough to lure him -- unless it’s an offer that blows his mind.
Iguodala’s mind runs too deep to be easily blown, but a deal upward of $18 per year would create a considerable breeze. And, remember, the Warriors will have Iguodala’s Bird Rights the second Kevin Durant officially declines his option.
That would provide room for the team, should it choose, to push its financial offer.
Iguodala came to the Warriors to join an alluring team with growth potential, with a new-age ownership in a location that aligned with his personal plan for his future. All those factors remain in play.
If the dollars are equal, or close to equal, Iguodala almost certainly will be back. That he realizes the folly of taking the same to go elsewhere has been related to NBCSportsBayArea.com on several occasions in recent months.
“I know they appreciate me here,” he said last month.
It was Iguodala’s arrival that pushed the team to another level. He provided a superior wing defender, a leader on the court and in the locker room and was practically perfect as an offensive complement to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, while providing a tremendous boost to a defense then built around Andrew Bogut, with Draymond Green and Thompson still on the rise.
Considering the team’s accomplishments since then, and Iguodala’s role throughout, it has worked exceedingly well for both parties. Which is why the team has placed such a high value on him.
“It’s hard to quantify it, other than two world championships,” coach Steve Kerr said recently. “And I’m not sure we’d have any without him.
“I know we wouldn’t have won two years ago without him. And probably wouldn’t have won this year, either, just based on everything that he means to us as a backup point guard, as the primary defender on LeBron, as the guy who gets us organized, who keeps us sane at times when things are getting a little out of control.
“And then, of course, the example that he sets, coming off the bench, as an All-Star, as a Finals MVP, as an Olympian,” Kerr added. “For him to willingly come off the bench and accept that role, it sets a great tone for the rest of the guys. He mentors those young guys on the bench constantly, too, and that’s a big factor for us as well.”
Now there is no mistaking the Warriors drafted Pat McCaw last June with the hope he’ll someday be able to provide much of what Iguodala has given them. Iguodala sees this, even noting during the team’s championship celebration that the rookie will be his replacement.
It was a joke. Had to be, for that day has not yet arrived, and the Warriors know it.