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Andre Iguodala could throw wrench into Golden State’s plans

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) dunks between Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) and forward LeBron James (23) during the first half of Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Monday, June 12, 2017. (Ezra Shaw/Pool Photo via AP)
Ezra Shaw/Pool Photo via AP

Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant aren’t going anywhere. That much is certain.

The future of Andre Iguodala is apparently less certain.

The Vertical’s Shams Charania reports the 33-year-old forward “plans to seriously consider other teams” when he hits free agency in July. Charania lists the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Atlanta Hawks among the possible suitors, and he also notes there’s some belief around the league that Iguodala could fetch nearly $20 million annually.

This comes after Tim Kawakami of The Mercury News reported Iguodala “will likely sign a multi-year extension with the Warriors worth somewhere between $8M to $12M per year.”

Here’s more from Kawakami:

Iguodala has already indicated that his negotiation is almost already done and that he will re-sign with the Warriors, though I’m sure there are still deal points to be finalized.

Months ago a source indicated to me that the only real issue to be worked out was the number of guaranteed years.

The safe bet still is Iguodala re-signing with Golden State. Iguodala clearly loves playing for the Warriors and they love him. He was part of the group that flew out to the Hamptons last summer to woo Kevin Durant. The Hamptons Five lineup of Iguodala, Durant, Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green is the most devastating in basketball and closed out the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the title. Iguodala had 20 points in the title-clinching Game 5 and was a Finals-best plus-60 for the series. Indications are Durant is willing to take less money in order to keep Iguodala around.

Despite all this, it would be prudent to go sniffing elsewhere. This will be Iguodala’s last chance at a sizable contract. If another team really offers close to $20 million a year, would you blame him for jumping at that?

The reality is Iguodala, while still a good player, isn’t worth close to that much. His value is incredibly unique to the Warriors because of their situation and roster construction, but another team paying him a boatload of money and potentially giving him more responsibility at that age could be a recipe for disaster. Even this past year he had his struggles in the regular season and playoffs. It just didn’t matter because Golden State’s so overwhelmingly talented, and ultimately he showed up when it mattered most against LeBron and Co.

But all it takes is one team to get silly and possibly throw a wrench into the Warriors’ operation with a monster offer. Let’s take a quick look at the teams Charania listed and see if any make real sense for Iguodala. It’s worth noting Charania’s sources said “prospective teams would need to show in meetings a vision to move toward contention to pry Iguodala from Golden State.”

Jazz

The Jazz just finished up an excellent season that saw them win 51 games and reach the second round before getting swept by Iguodala’s Warriors. Adding another quality veteran like Iguodala to the group sounds like a great idea. Not to mention it would weaken Golden State.

The problem here is Utah already has nearly $66 committed in salary for next season, and that obviously doesn’t include free agents Gordon Hayward and George Hill. If both players return, the Jazz’s cap space is nonexistent. A good amount of money would likely have to be cleared if it’s just one of the two players back, especially if it’s Hayward. Utah could offer plenty if both players leave, but that makes the situation much less attractive.

Iguodala to the Jazz isn’t impossible, but it would need some maneuvering.

Clippers

The Clippers have needed a player like Iguodala for years, but it’s hard to see how this works out. LA could open up a good chunk of cap space … but, of course, that would require significant roster changes. The Clippers already have nearly $60 million in contracts for next season without counting free agents Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick, so they would have to lose some serious talent to make a competitive offer.

Why would Iguodala want to sign with a weakened Clippers team that has been a Warriors “rival” for several years?

Bulls

Iguodala is from Springfield, Ill., so there’s a home state connection here. The Bulls’ cap situation is up in the air due to Dwyane Wade ($23.8 million player option) and Rajon Rondo ($3 million of $13.4 million guaranteed). If Jimmy Butler doesn’t get moved, the working assumption is Wade and Rondo will be back.

Chicago could still make a strong offer for Iguodala with Wade and Rondo on board if a decision is made to move on from Nikola Mirotic. However, adding another aging player in Iguodala to that group makes little sense for the Bulls, and it also makes little sense for him to want to join a mediocre team in Chicago that doesn’t have all that much future promise.

Timberwolves

This is an intriguing fit, as noted by ESPN’s Zach Lowe:

The Timberwolves have a long way to go before being a legitimate contender, but they have a lot of talented pieces in place that could have them in position to make big strides in the next couple of years. Tom Thibodeau could use a wily veteran like Iguodala to help the defense and instill a good culture with the youngsters.

The Wolves should have the cap space available to make a big offer, and they’re in a position with so much young talent that an overpay for the right veteran may not hurt them all that much.

Hawks

The Hawks have a big Paul Millsap decision to make this summer. Atlanta would have a good amount of cap space if Millsap leaves, although signing with a Millsap-less Hawks team doesn’t sound too enticing.

If Millsap does re-sign, perhaps Atlanta would look to shed Kent Bazemore’s bloated deal and try to replace him with Iguodala. But given Iguodala’s age, that feels like spinning wheels.

***

There are other teams that could also make a run at Iguodala (maybe the Philadelphia 76ers try to bring him back?), but the guess here is he winds up re-signing with Golden State after using other suitors as leverage to get a bit more money. If he actually does leave the Warriors … Patrick McCaw, your table is ready.

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