Myers on acquiring Iguodala: 'It's a transformative moment'
Andre Iguodala: "We are trying to get there, to the finals. I make no promises, but that’s my goal.” (AP)
OAKLAND -- Bob Myers met with Andre Iguodala and his agent, Rob Pelinka, on the first day of free agency and heard the words any NBA general manager would want to hear: “Andre wants to play for the Warriors.” Myers' response to Pelinka was not what any general manager wants to say.
“We have no money, we have no room. I don’t see a way to get him.” Myers told Pelinka, a longtime friend and former colleague. “Don’t tease me with a player like Iguodala. I don’t know how we can accomplish that.”
But accomplish it Myers did. Ten days after that initial meeting, there sat the coveted 6-foot-6 swingman at the Warriors practice facility as he was introduced as the newest member of the team in front of his family, two dozen members of the media and about fifty kids attending a Warriors basketball camp. Iguodala addressed the crowd.
"I want to thank the people who made this happen ... it seemed like it wasn't going to happen for a second there, but Bob (Myers) did a great job of working with some things with Rob (Pelinka). At one point, I think it was Wednesday night, we didn't think it would happen. The next morning, nine hours later, fifty phone calls between the two it kinda came through."
Myers credits Iguodala’s want-to, a 16-hour work day on the Fourth of July and a strong working relationship with Pelinka as main factors that pushed the three team trade through that eventually brought Iguodala to Golden State.
The crux of the deal had the Warriors sending center Andris Biedrins, forward Richard Jefferson and guard/forward Brandon Rush and a handful of first and second round draft picks as well as cash considerations to Utah. In return, the Warriors picked up guard Kevin Murphy from the Jazz. They then were able to get Iguodala in a sign-and-trade deal from Denver.
“This was a lesson in perseverance. He (Pelinka) wouldn’t let me give up on it,” Myers said. “This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever worked on in the NBA, getting this deal through. This thing was on life support fifteen times.”
The Warriors first came to Iguodala’s attention as trade rumors swirled while he was with Philadelphia. Golden State was mentioned and he begin to watch the changes that came under new ownership. He liked what he saw. He also liked how Mark Jackson turned the team into “a batch of hungry basketball players.” And when he experienced the Warriors’ fans energy in game six of the playoffs playing for Denver against Golden State, he knew this was a team he wanted to play for.
"I guess it was good to play here in the playoffs, 'cause I kind of got a feel for the fans, and how ecstatic they are and how much support they give their team."
Most importantly for the Warriors, Iguodala joins a team whose core remains intact as the players most responsible for taking the team to the second round of the playoffs remain on the roster. On more than one occasion, Myers, and Iguodala himself, called him the “missing piece of the puzzle”.
“My game fits my personality, especially my humor, I kind of have a dry [sense of] humor," Iguodala explained. “Some of my favorite shows are 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'… the 'Big Bang Theory,' shows that sneak up on you with humor. Same thing with my game, just having a huge impact. It may not show up in the stat sheet, but you watch the game and you’ll see it.”
Iguodala used that humor in part to describe his new teammates. He drew a loud laugh from the media when he referred to guard Stephen Curry as “the second coming of Jesus Christ. He’s the most loved man on earth right now." He also considers David Lee and Andrew Bogut “the two smartest bigs in the league.”
With Iguodala on board, many now consider the Warriors one of the top contenders in the western conference.
“Everybody’s goal is to win a championship whether it’s realistic or not. That’s our goal,” Iguodala said. "We have a solid group. It’s going to take us sometime to come together but the great thing is the core is still there. You have a core group of guys that did most of the work to get to that second round, so it shouldn’t take long. We are trying to get there, to the finals. I make no promises, but that’s my goal.”
“You just don’t find players like this,” Myers said. “You actually don’t find certain people like Andre so we are absolutely thrilled.”