Andre Iguodala, the 12th year swingman, is entering the final year of his contract with the Golden State Warriors, and is most likely to go elsewhere next summer, per sources close to the organization.
Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, has been arguably the Warriors’ most important player over the last few postseasons, especially due to his lockdown defense and ability to make clutch shots in pressure-cooker situations.
The Warriors would like nothing more than to re-sign Iguodala and have him finish his career in Oakland. However, they are strapped with salary-cap challenges with Iguodala, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Shaun Livingston all unrestricted free agents at the end of the forthcoming season.
Since the 2017-18 salary-cap ($102 million) is projected to be lower than previously expected, the Warriors will find it difficult to sign Curry and Durant to maximum contracts, while still retaining Iguodala and Livingston.
Andre Iguodala: Final chance to cash in
Iguodala, who turns 33 next year, will have his final opportunity to cash in and earn a lucrative contract. Iguodala had joined the Warriors on a four-year, $48 million contract in July, 2013.
The Warriors own Iguodala’s Bird Rights and can go over the cap to re-sign him. However, since Durant has an opt out option next year and could seek a fresh five-year contract, the Warriors cannot exceed the cap to re-sign the 2013-14 MVP. The Warriors will have to use cap space to re-sign Durant.
If the cap drops to $102 million, and counting the cap holds for Curry and Iguodala, the Warriors won’t have enough room to offer Durant the additional $33.5 million that he would be eligible to make.
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Therefore, unless Durant takes a pay cut, the Warriors will be forced to let Iguodala walk.
In July, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that the Warriors will be forced to choose between retaining Curry and Durant to maximum contracts or letting Iguodala and maybe Livingston walk.
“Curry and Iguodala are also scheduled to be free agents next summer. The Warriors retain both players’ full rights, but it will be a challenge to re-sign them while also leaving room for Durant. That challenge was just projected to be $5 million more difficult,” wrote Windhorst, explaining that the new projected salary-cap could throw off the Warriors’ plans.
Technically, the Warriors have only Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the books for next year. If Durant opts into his player option, the Warriors will have an easier route and will be able to bring back most of the roster.
Andre Iguodala is reportedly close friends with Stephen Curry and also the golfing partner of the two-time MVP. Expect the Warriors to pull all strings to try and retain Iguodala but it will be challenging to say the least.