Andre Iguodala already took multiple pay cuts to continue to play in the Bay Area for the Warriors in a quest to accomplish something special. They certainly did that, on their way to two NBA titles, as Iguodala himself earned his first NBA Finals MVP in 2015. Though, with the addition of Kevin Durant this year, Iguodala saw a drop in relevance. Taking it even a step further, Iguodala’s services are no longer necessary for the Warriors to accomplish something special. Teams will once again be throwing more money at Iggy than Golden State can afford to, and that along with his decreasing role, just might be enough to lure him out of Oakland.
Initial reports hinted that Iguodala ideally wanted to stay with the Warriors if they could offer him something in the $10 million dollar range, but after seeing what some teams would be willing to pay him, the former Finals-MVP is having second thoughts. A report by The Vertical of Yahoo Sports suggested that Iguodala will be seriously considering leaving in free agency, as a multitude of teams will be trying to get their hands on him. The report goes on to list six teams as possible suitors for Iggy and one of them was the Atlanta Hawks.
The first rumblings of the Hawks eyeing Iguodala came at the beginning of June, when the Hawks were mentioned in a report about being one of the first teams interested in attempting to pry Iguodala from the Warriors. At the time of the report, though, it was unknown exactly the kind of price it would take to lure him away. Maybe 10-15 million dollars annually? Now, according to The Vertical, teams may be willing to offer as much as $20 million annually.
Even with the addition of Kevin Durant, Iggy’s number did not take a hit. In fact they were slightly better and noticeably more effecient. He shot a career-high 52.8% from the field and his second-highest percentage (36.2%) of his career from behind the arc.
Though he has always been a capable scorer, it has never been the part of his game that defines him. Iguodala excels in all aspects of the game, particularly on the defensive end, where he is one of the best in the league. His defense on Lebron James in the 2015 Finals was about the only thing that stopped James from single-handedly defeating the Warriors that year. It also led to that Finals MVP award he received. Iggy also is a thrill in transition and possesses terrific vision. He is the glue guy on the Warriors, and everything Coach Budenholzer could want out of a player. He has been an integral part to both of the Warriors championship runs as the sixth-man, but the price point has to have the Hawks thinking twice
If the Hawks are considering on trying to remain competitive, they would likely have to re-sign Paul Millsap, which would force the Hawks to make a move if they wanted to bring in Iguodala. Ideally if the Hawks could get rid of Kent Bazemore’s contract, they would have the space bring in a piece like Iguodala. Listen, there are some really sad GMs in the NBA and crazier things have happened, but it is going to be hard to convince even the most desperate of teams to take on Bazemore.
A more realistic salary dump would be Dwight Howard, who still has 2-years and $47 million left on his contract. His $23.5 million dollars off the books this season would give the Hawks flexibility bring in one and perhaps multiple free agents. The Hawks could be better with an Iguadola and Howard swap, but how much better? Iguodala is not carrying a team at this point in his career, and Howard was still the most effective player on the Hawks last season. Howard also plays a position of need and would leave Atlanta with no rim protectors on the roster.
The Hawks will be moving furiously as the draft approaches to find any takers for one or both of those large contracts. It may be the case that Atlanta receives no legitimate offers in return. But even if they are able to move one, it is hard seeing them re-investing it long-term in a 33-year old small forward, who is largely dependent on his athleticism. Iguodala was not exactly a superstar prior to arriving to Golden State and certainly is not going to be one as his career comes to an end. Atlanta needs to keep adding youth and maintaining flexibility, much like the strategy that put the Celtics and 76ers in such great positions going forward.
The Schlenk and Iguodala ties may be tighter than we know, but Atlanta does not have the wiggle room to add another out of their prime player for big bucks. It is hard imaging a situation in which they land Iguodala.