The Golden State Warriors will have the band back together in 2021-22 — well, much of it anyway. Former Warriors forward Kevin Durant is never walking through that door again, that’s for sure.
But guard Klay Thompson will return from injury early in the campaign. Plus, the Warriors brought F Andrew Iguodala back via free agency. Each player was instrumental in building the championship culture that Durant joined in 2016.
With Thompson, the Warriors missed his elite skill; he’s the ultimate “3-and-D” player. Iguodala contributed on the floor, to be sure, but his off-court presence carried weight as well. Coach Steve Kerr says that when Iguodala was traded to accommodate Durant’s sign-and-trade to the Nets, a part of the Warriors went with him.
“I think when we lost him, we lost a piece of our soul,” Kerr told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. “And we knew that when we lost him. But for the long-term health of the franchise, we made the decision to create an asset that would not have been there for us otherwise.”
Kerr then mentioned that Golden State had to trade Iguodala to get the Durant trade done. The deal brought G D’Angelo Russell to the Bay Area, whom the Warriors then traded for F Andrew Wiggins and a draft choice. The pick ended up being rookie F Jonathan Kuminga.
“But there’s also no getting around the fact that for the last two years we’ve been wayward in many ways. And so Andre’s return, I think, is huge in a lot of different ways. First, he’s still got plenty to offer, as he showed in Miami the last two seasons. So his addition on the court will be huge for us. And second, he just embodies everything we’re about — versatility, sacrifice, the clear defining of roles, the mentoring that he brings for the younger guys. You throw all that into the equation and Andre is just an enormous addition for us.”–Steve Kerr
The last two years were indeed rough. But even Iguodala couldn’t have overcome injuries to superstar G Stephen Curry, in addition to Thompson’s two lost seasons due to a torn ACL and a ruptured Achilles.
So it all sort of worked out. Iguodala can spend his last NBA years (or year) in the Bay Area where he was an NBA Finals MVP in 2015, mentoring Kuminga and Golden State’s other promising rookie, G Moses Moody. That way, the Warriors will retain the soul and spirit of Iguodala as the franchise marches into the future.
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