It’s a season to forget for the Golden State Warriors. They’ve lost many of the players that made up their championship teams to either free agency (Kevin Durant), retirement (Shaun Livingston), or injury (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson). They also lost one key player to a trade — Andre Iguodala.
Despite Iguodala’s exit from the team, there’s evidence that he may return to the organization sooner than you’d think.
Andre Iguodala’s career overview
The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Iguodala out of the University of Arizona with the No. 9 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. Here’s what he’s been able to accomplish so far in his career:
- 1,108 games played
- 12.1 points per game
- 5.1 rebounds per game
- 4.4 assists per game
- 15.7 Player Efficiency Rating
- 96.4 Win Shares
Iguodala has had an interesting career path. He started with sky-high expectations in Philadelphia. Once the team traded Allen Iverson, Iguodala was looked at as the face of the franchise. He never quite could get the Sixers into contender mode. He spent the first eight seasons of his career in Philadelphia. After a one-year stop in Denver, he joined the Warriors for the 2013-2014 season.
It’s with Golden State that Iguodala experienced a mid-to-late career renaissance.
Iguodala’s tenure with the Golden State Warriors
A glance at his stats from Iguodala’s time with the Warriors may not be impressive at first. He only averaged 7.3 points per game with the team. But his role with the Warriors went far beyond the stat sheet.
Iguodala was a vital component of the Warriors’ championship teams. He provided critical perimeter defense, mostly off the bench. He was often able to match up with the other team’s best perimeter player. Just how important was Iguodala’s role? On a team stocked with other stars such as Green, Curry, and Thompson, it was Iguodala who won Finals MVP in this version of the Warriors’ first championship back in 2014-15.
During last year’s NBA Finals, The Ringer released a piece on how Iguodala essentially filled whatever role the Warriors needed him to. That included hitting a huge shot at the end of Game 2 in Toronto to clinch it for the Warriors:
“It wasn’t a proper buzzer-beater or technically a game-winner, but it was just as important to the Warriors. If Iguodala had missed that shot, maybe the Raptors would have found a way to steal the game and head off to the Bay Area up 2-0 and in full command. Instead, he made it, and the proceedings are tied. Iguodala was left so wide open that Steph Curry called it “disrespectful” in the postgame television interview.”
Iguodala may have never been a top-five NBA player, but he proved that he had a lot of value as a complementary piece. He had a unique skill set that few bench players could claim to have.
Andre Iguodala’s path back to Golden State
This past offseason, the Warriors needed to create cap room to facilitate the trade for D’Angelo Russell. That meant parting ways with Iguodala, who unfortunately for them became expendable. Iguodala ended up with the Memphis Grizzlies. The team and Iguodala are currently trying to work out a buyout that would make him a free agent.
If Iguodala does become a free agent, he’ll certainly have no shortage of suitors. But it’s a strong bet he returns to Golden State. Iguodala still lives in the Bay Area, and as evidenced by the Instagram photo he took for Thompson and his girlfriend actress Laura Harrier, he still maintains close ties with the team.
The Warriors are having a hellish season, but adding one of their most important players may get them back on track towards the dynasty they had become.