NBA

Andre Iguodala’s Leadership is the Real Reason the Heat Traded for Him

Andre Iguodala played in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors in June 2019. Iguodala put up 22 points, making three deep shots and playing strong defense in what was the sixth and decisive game of the NBA Finals. He didn’t retire, but he went more than sixth months without playing a game.

Iguodala was a key piece of Golden State’s championship puzzle, but since the Warriors needed cap space, they dealt him to the Memphis Grizzlies before the 2019-20 season. Iguodala hoped for a trade to a playoff contender that could benefit from his championship experience. Instead, he went to an up-and-coming young team, and he didn’t suit up for them once. 

At the trade deadline, Iguodala got his wish to join a contender when the Grizzlies struck a deal with the Heat. Will Iguodala be worth it to the Heat? What was the real reason he was traded?

Andre Iguodala’s career so far

At 36 years old, many wonder how much game Iguodala has left. In his final year with the Golden State Warriors, his averages were career lows with 5.7 points each game and 23.2 minutes each game. 

Iguodala has a good postseason record. He was the 2015 NBA Finals MVP after he averaged 9.8 points along with 4.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. Iguodala hit an impressive 35% of his 3-pointers in the Warriors’ postseason run. 

Iguodala and the Memphis Grizzlies

After a previous bad situation with Chandler Parsons, the Memphis Grizzlies navigated their acquisition of Andre Iguodala a lot better. When Golden State wanted to free up salary-cap space, a trade exception allowed the Grizzlies to transfer Iguodala’s $17 million salary by trading Mike Conley to Utah. Golden State scored a first-round draft pick in the deal.

The Grizzlies appeared to know exactly what they were doing. The Conley trade also gained Memphis an extra first-round draft pick that they used to acquire Brandon Clarke. They got Kyle Korver and other assets as part of a trade from Phoenix.

Iguodala didn’t want to play in Memphis at any point. The veteran wanted to play for a team with prospects of reaching the NBA Finals. He had no interest in being part of a team that was rebuilding. Iguodala hoped the Grizzlies would buy out his contract so he could become a free agent and able to play for a team of his choosing. He planned to sit out the entire season if such a move didn’t happen.

Iguodala got his wish when he was traded to the Miami Heat.

How the Heat benefit from having Andre Iguodala

The Miami Heat are NBA Finals contenders, and Andre Iguodala is the steady veteran presences that could make them champions.
Andre Iguodala suits up for the Miami Heat. | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Not many people, including the experts, saw the Miami Heat rising to become a threat in the Eastern Conference. Even without Iguodala, they were on the shortlist of legitimate title contenders. Adding Andre Iguodala and signing him to a two-year, $30 million extension that includes a team option for the 2021-22 season gives them better odds. Other players were involved in the deal between teams, but no picks were. The Miami Heat also got Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill.

How does the Heat intend to use Iguodala? He gives the team wing depth and a player with championship experience. He’s also versatile on the floor and a tough two-way player.

It doesn’t seem likely, however, that the Miami Heat will use Iguodala the same way Golden State did. The veteran instead might be used to boost the rotation of the team. He could serve as a powerful wing defender in postseason play against formidable opponents like Jaylen Brown, Pascal Siakam, and Jayson Tatum. Iguodala adds a cutter and experienced ball-handler for the Heat while they navigate the Eastern Conference.

At his age, Iguodala likely won’t be expected to be a huge contributor in the regular season. His championship experience, especially on defense, might be that nudge the Miami Heat needs to get them a title. With some talented but inexperienced players like Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn, and Duncan Robinson playing major minutes, Andre Iguodala may be the last piece on the board the Miami Heat needs to win an NBA championship.