According to multiple reports, talented combo forward Andre Iguodala has signed a four-year, $48 million dollar deal with the upstart Golden State Warriors. Iguodala’s signing comes on the backside of a trade between the Warriors and the Utah Jazz which opened up a total of $20 million in cap space — enough to secure salary in the new contract. The Warriors sent both Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins to the Jazz for a package of players that has yet to be announced.
Last season under head coach Mark Jackson, the Warriors fought their way into a Western Conference playoff spot powered by a high-tempo and explosive offense, and a defense that was good enough in most instances to keep Golden State in the mix. With the addition of Iguodala to a talented young core, the Warriors will enjoy some increased grit on the defensive side, and benefit from a player known not only for his overall athleticism and graceful game but also for being tough-as-nails on the defensive side of the ball.
A starting five that includes Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and David Lee will cause teams in the Western Conference and across the NBA to play at a tempo for a full 48 minutes that won’t be sustainable for many. In Iguodala, the Warriors add a veteran to the fold who has seen playoff action and has first-hand knowledge of what kind of work will need to be put in to make it even deeper in the post-season in 2013.
It’s a reasonable assumption, as well, that in securing Iguodala that the Warriors have de facto backed out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes given the impossibility of having both guys on the roster at the value they demand. Golden State has never had the need for a dominant, back-to-the-basket big man like Howard, and it makes perfect sense they went for an athletic combo forward instead. A guy that can play multiple positions and each of them with a high level of skill.
If they weren’t already, the Golden State Warriors are now a team to be reckoned with in 2013 — one that could make plenty of noise and be the first to ignite the inevitable changing of the guard in the Western Conference.