As it comes to no one’s surprise, Andre Iguodala has opted out of his contract with the Denver Nuggets making him an unrestricted free agent this summer. Though he was set to make $16.2 million next season, he has decided to look for a max contract from a team willing to spend, and quite frankly, this may be his last opportunity at any such deal given his age.
Iguodala may not be the flashiest of players, but he is a lock down defender who can score, rebound and rack up the occasional assist. His career averages of 15.1 PPG, 4.9 APG and 5.8 RPG seem to support that observation. This season with the Nuggets, Igoudala proved to be no different, averaging 13 PPG, 5.4 APG, 5.3 RPG and shooting .451 from the field. Iguodala was a critical part in helping Denver secure a postseason berth while helping the Nuggets to a team-record 57 wins. Though not known as a stat sheet stuffer, Iguodala played his role well under head coach George Karl.
After a disappointing first round exit at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, the Nuggets decided to part ways with their Coach of the Year after General Manager Masai Ujiri jumped ship to the Toronto Raptors. Sources claimed that the Denver organization didn’t agree with how Karl was handling the team. To make a long story short, the Nuggets decided to move in a different direction and may have ultimately been the reason for why Andre Iguodala didn’t accept his player option.
After Karl was dismissed, Iguodala was asked on how this would affect his decision on re-signing with the Nuggets. He was quoted saying, “Good question. Need some time to let it sink in.” Not only has it sunk in for Iguodala, but reality has also started to sink in for Denver, knowing that they won’t be seeing arguably their best player in a Nuggets uniform next season. The question is, was Iguodala’s decision actually based on Karl being fired?
Though Iguodala was set to make a respectable $16.2 million, he only had one season remaining on his contract. Not having the insurance of multiple years may have been just enough to entice Iguodala to enter free agency. Not having a head coach may have been another reason. When Iguodala came to Denver, they had a firm direction that they were heading in. They looked like a team that was ready to make a run at a championship, and that was something that Iguodala wanted to be apart of. Now Denver seems aimless as they are still looking to fill the vacant holes at general manager and head coach.
For now, Iguodala will be hoping that a team takes a gamble on him, and frankly, its a gamble worth taking. At 29 years of age, Iguodala still has a lot left in the tank, and it remains to be seen if he gets the max deal that he is looking for. As for Karl, expect teams to be licking their chops to acquire the reigning “Coach of the Year”. There have already been rumors that the Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies are highly interested, and Karl won’t be on the open market for much longer.