Iguodala emerges from shadows, makes loud free-agent statement

Iguodala emerges from shadows, makes loud free-agent statement

OAKLAND -- With the finish line in view and the money close enough to touch, Andre Iguodala found his overdrive gear.

And he hit it. Hard.

As Kevin Durant was wrapping up his NBA Finals MVP award, as Stephen Curry was burying the Cavaliers in Game 5 of The Finals and coach Steve Kerr was dealing with very real agony and ecstasy, Iguodala stepped from the relative shadows of the Warriors bench to remind observers he remains a difference-maker.

“Andre lives for the big moment,” Draymond Green said after Iguodala’s sterling performance in a 129-120 victory that gave the Warriors their second championship in three seasons.

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Iguodala scored 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, adding three rebounds and three assists, leading the way as the Warriors reserves outscored those of the Cavs 35-7.

Yet the most impressive total was 38, the number of minutes Iguodala played. It was the highest total of the postseason for the veteran forward.

“Steve and I had an interesting conversation this morning in shootaround, and he said, How many minutes you got?’ ” Igoudala recalled. “I said, ‘Whatever you need. I'll be ready.’ And I kind of just had a good feeling, that inkling like tonight's the night to attack and get it over with.”

Iguodala said he had been particularly “stressed” as the playoffs have progressed. He pursues perfection, and even as the team flirted with it felt there could be more attention to detail. These anxieties sometimes clashed with the acceptance that his role on this team, at this time, is to facilitate.

Oh, and he’s going to be a free agent next month.

“And it's stressful because it's a hard job that goes unnoticed,” he said. “You have to embrace it. It's really just sacrificing to make sure everybody else is eating.

“But then you want to look for yourself sometimes. Like you want to show people what you can do. And it just so happens that it's always been perfect timing. I think that's more of a blessing than anything else, is like when it's time for me to be a little bit more selfless and show what I can do, like nights like this or the whole Finals in 2015, it just shows that there's something powerful up there that I believe in that's working through me.”

Iguodala is 33 years old, and neither a consistent scorer nor a deadeye shooter. His knees require regular maintenance. His impact during the 17-game postseason ranged from negligible to essential.

He’s also one of the league’s smartest players, someone who sees and feels the game as well as anyone -- at both ends of the court. He also prepares like few others. And in Game 5, he was there when he was needed.

“Andre was unbelievable,” veteran big man David West said. “He was in the gym at 8 o’clock this morning.”

The prep work occasionally results in pivotal plays, such as Iguodala’s soaring, majestic dunk in the second quarter. With 7:58 left in the half, he concluded a blip of a 6-0 run that cut an eight-point deficit to two and forced a Cleveland timeout.

It was a signature moment of a game that ended with confetti falling and the Warriors taking a stage to receive trophies.

“He's one of the best professionals I've ever been around,” Klay Thompson said. “And two years ago he went to the bench, and it rewarded him; he was Finals MVP. Same thing this year. The guy's an Olympian, a champion, an All-Star, and one of the most complete players I ever played with. He just makes everyone around him better.”

Kerr most assuredly values Iguodala’s presence, perhaps more than his teammates. It’s why the negotiations between the Warriors and Iguodala will be interesting, even as both sides have maintained their desire to continue the relationship.

Steve Nash lashes out against Donald Trump in profanity-filled tweet


Steve Nash lashes out against Donald Trump in profanity-filled tweet

Donald Trump spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon about the situation in Charlottesville.

He said the following:

"I think there is blame on both sides. What about the 'alt-left' that came charging at, as you say, the 'alt-right,' do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact they came charging with clubs in hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem? I think they do.

"You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now."

Shortly thereafter, Steve Nash tweeted the following:

"To defend white supremacists and then slang his shi**y as* grape juice pretty much sums the man up."

The end.

Rick Barry doubles down on the divine right of kings


Rick Barry doubles down on the divine right of kings

Rick Barry surprised nobody with his analysis of the criticism of the Trump Administration. He showed his general view on dissent five years ago at the Chris Mullin jersey retirement ceremony.

You remember that bright spot in Warrior history. New owner Joe Lacob, who was already paying for the sins of his predecessor Chris (The Hologram) Cohan and had traded the popular Monta Ellis to turn his backcourt (and his fabulous future) over to the upstart W.S. Curry, was uproariously booed as he stood on a stage at center court in Oakland.

That’s when Barry grabbed the microphone and lectured the rabble.

“C’mon people, show a little bit of class,” he said. “This is a man, that I’ve spent some time talking to, he is going to change this franchise. This is crazy. seriously. C’mon. You’re doing yourself a disservice. All the wonderful accolades being said to you, for you to treat this man, who is spending his money to do that best that he can to turn this franchise around, and I know he’s going to do it. So give him the respect he deserves.”

It is important here to keep his comments within the timeline, as neither he nor anyone else knew what would become of the Warriors three years hence. But it is also to be noted that he dismissed long-suffering customers who had endured decades of rancid basketball since he retired in 1980. They were more than entitled to vent their collective spleen.

But Barry is a man who, rightly and wrongly, believes in the divine right of authority to be treated as authority, which is why what he told USA Today sounds so much like what he told the Coliseum Arena audience that night.

“It’s a disgrace to the world, to our country, what they’re doing,” he said. “The scrutiny that he’s going under is absurd. It’s ridiculous. Politics has always been horrible and it’s even worse now than it was. What’s going on now is reprehensible.”

We now follow with the requisite caveats. He is entitled to his view, as are we all. He is also entitled to express it, as are we all. But his world view is not the issue here as much as his intolerance of people who loudly object to the powers that be by loudly objecting on the behalf of the powerful. It is very much a case of “I’m talking now to tell you to stop talking,” and less explicable, it says that in his world view, respect should automatically be granted to the powerful rather than earned. And when it comes to being a president, or even an NBA owner, it has to be re-earned constantly.

Lacob has managed to do so, a remarkable effort by any metric. Trump is well on his way to failing completely, but that remains an open debate.

Either way, Rick Barry is as Rick Barry has been, and as we suspect he will always be – deferential to the powerful, dismissive of most of everyone else. It’s not a course for the timid, and certainly not for those who wish to, well, be respected.