Golden State Warriors: Was Signing Andre Iguodala a Bad Idea for the Future?
From a perspective of just looking at the trade itself, it seems like the Warriors were above and beyond the winners of this deal. While adding Iguodala to the team, the Warriors also unload Richard Jefferson's and Andris Biedrins' overpaid contracts—both of whom had very little impact on the team's success this past season.
On paper, it looks like the Warriors snatched away one of the best two-way players in the league in Iguodala and gave up virtually nothing. On a second look though, the addition of Iguodala has a domino effect on the team itself.
The Inability To Re-Sign Jarrett Jack or Carl Landry
Jack and Landry are probably two of the most valuable role players in the entire league. The most underrated move of the Warriors in the 2012 offseason was adding the two of them to the roster, and a huge part of the team's success was because of them.
In Jack's lone season with the Warriors, he averaged 12.9 PPG and 5.6 APG on 45.2 percent shooting from the field and 40.4 percent from beyond the arc (per Basketball Reference). He saw his minutes increase when the playoffs started and bumped up his scoring average to 17.2 PPG, while increasing his shooting percentage to a remarkable 50.6 percent.
Jack is an eight-year veteran who will be playing on his sixth NBA team in nine seasons in the league, and the Warriors wouldn't have been as successful without his contributions.
Landry, on the other hand, is a physical offensive presence in the paint and his style of play brought a new dimension to the team. His tenacious rebounding and "bruiser" mentality gave the team a sense of toughness down low, which they will definitely miss next year.
As great as Stephen Curry and David Lee were last season, Jack and Landry were instrumental in helping the team reach the playoffs for the first time in six years. Both players could be starters on any other team in the league, so having them as a spark off of the bench was a luxury.
By signing Iguodala to a four-year $48 million contract, there just isn't enough room for Jack and Landry to stay. As great of a player as Iguodala is, he doesn't provide the same amount of offensive firepower as those two players combined.
They Didn't Really Need Another Wing Player
Let's make this clear: Iguodala is a proven star in this league with a lot of versatile components to his game that few other players in this league possess. Right now, he's a better overall player than the two young wing players who started last year—Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes.
However, he already reached his ceiling a few years ago and there isn't anything more to expect from Iguodala. He's 29 years old and he will be the same type of player for the rest of his career, so we know what we're getting out of him.
Unfortunately, adding Iguodala to the team means that either Thompson or Barnes will see less action next season. Thompson, 23, and Barnes, 21, are the future of this team along with Curry, and it must be hard to watch from the sidelines after coming off of spectacular individual postseason performances.
Thompson is quickly developing into one of the best shooters in the league, if he isn't one of them already. For his career, he's a 40.6 percent three-point shooter and his performance in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs was one of the best shooting displays in NBA history. He connected on 8 out of 9 three-pointers and led the team with 34 points to tie the series at 1-1.
Barnes' postseason was highlighted by a handful of great performances as well, but the most noticeable stat was his playing time. After playing 25.4 minutes per game during the regular season, he saw 38.4 minutes per game during the playoffs. Even with the increased minutes, Barnes still showed the same poise and efficiency, and he made it clear that he wasn't phased while playing in the biggest games of his young career.
Defensively, Iguodala is a few notches higher than either of those two players. However, his individual defense isn't enough to make up for every other area of the game. Actually, both Thompson's and Barnes' defense is vastly underrated. According to 82games.com, Thompson held opposing shooting guards to a PER of 13.5 and opposing small forwards to a PER of 14.1 last season, while Barnes held opposing small forwards to a PER of 13.2. From just looking at the numbers, Iguodala is only slightly better defensively as he held opposing shooting guards to a PER of 12.7.
Long Term Financial Constraints
The Warriors have already locked up Iguodala, Curry and Lee for the next three to four years (via Hoops Hype), and they won't have many options to improve their team down the road so they need to rely on their young talent to develop.
Andrew Bogut's contract expires after the 2013-14 season, but the Warriors might be forced to let him go. There won't be any other quality centers available in the future, but a healthy Bogut is a defensive stalwart and top-ten center in the league. He will earn less than the $14 million he's owed next season, but he will still command a hefty contract on the open market.
Furthermore, the organization might struggle to secure Thompson and Barnes with extensions when they become restrained by the salary cap. This also brings up another interesting scenario, as the Warriors could look to use one of their young players as trade bait in the near future if they are unable to re-sign them.
In either case, the addition of Iguodala means that the team wants to win right now, which probably isn't the best idea. The core of Curry, Thompson and Barnes is still young and developing and it seems like the Warriors may be giving up a promising future to contend for championship right now.
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