Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski had the news on Twitter:
Y! Sources: Denver's Andre Iguodala has decided to opt-out of final year of contract and will enter free agency. http://t.co/DQbpxlBc1O— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 14, 2013
The Philadelphia 76ers traded Iguodala to the Nuggets last offseason (as noted here by ESPN) in the deal that sent Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. He did not disappoint as a do-it-all player for former head coach George Karl.
Per Wojnarowski's report, Denver CEO Josh Kroenke has already expressed interest in working out a long-term contract for him to stay with the team. Per the terms of the new NBA collective bargaining agreement, Iguodala can sign a four-year deal on the open market but a five-year one with his current team.
He averaged 13.0 points, 5.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game as the Nuggets captured the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, only to be upset by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs.
No one would blame Iguodala for those shortcomings, though, as his averages all spiked over those six games, including 18.0 points per game and 48.3 percent shooting from the three-point line. As you can see, there was a lot of green on his playoff shot chart.
Denver fired Karl this offseason, while former general manager Masai Ujiri left for the Toronto Raptors, but the current roster is otherwise fairly stable. Only Corey Brewer and Timofey Mozgov are scheduled to hit the free-agent market out of the major contributors.
The 29-year-old Iguodala's deal was scheduled to be worth roughly $15.9 million, but by exercising his early termination option, he can hit a free-agent market that also includes stars Howard, Chris Paul, Monta Ellis and Josh Smith.
It's unclear if he will command that kind of salary on the open market, with the new CBA severely limiting franchises from venturing into over-the-cap territory.
Speculation about a potential move had already been hefty before Friday's report, as ESPN's Marc Stein made the connection between Iguodala, a young roster and one of his former head coaches:
MT @deryNBA: Source: It's 3-year contract for Cheeks. Not sure if team option for 4th. I am checking on it. Iguodala could be FA target— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 10, 2013
Maurice Cheeks coached Iguodala for four years in Philadelphia and then moved on to an assistant's role with the Oklahoma City Thunder the last few seasons before being hired as the Detroit Pistons' new head coach earlier in the week (via USA Today).
As Sam Amico of Fox Sports noted on Twitter, there will be no shortage of franchises interested in his services:
Cue the endless Andre Iguodala questions.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 14, 2013
A spark plug on both ends of the court, Iguodala made the All-Star game for the first time in 2012, months before he won an Olympic gold medal at the London Games with the United States men's basketball team.
What kind of contract does Iguodala deserve?
He played all of his first eight seasons with Philadelphia before joining Denver for his ninth, but exercising the option makes it very likely he will be playing for his third team in three seasons when the 2013-14 season begins.
For his career, Iguodala has averages of 15.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per contest. He was on the second-team All-Defensive squad after the 2010-11 season and finished just shy of that mark again this year.
Iguodala was a standout at the University of Arizona before his professional career began, and Philadelphia selected him with the ninth pick in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft. He didn't miss a single regular-season game in five of his first six seasons with the Sixers and played in 80 games for the Nuggets this year.