Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made clear just how important Andre Iguodala is to his locker room in no uncertain terms. Speaking to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic following the Tokyo Olympics, Kerr noted the dynamic of the Warriors completely changed when they traded the swingman to the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2019 offseason.
Now back in the Bay Area on a one-year, $2.6 million deal, Kerr explained to Kawakami exactly what the team is regaining:
"I think when we lost him, we lost a piece of our soul. And we knew that when we lost him. But for the long-term health of the franchise, we made the decision to create an asset that would not have been there for us otherwise. The only way to do it was to trade him (to get under the hard cap to make the acquisition of D’Angelo Russell possible). And obviously Andre became ultimately Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga. So if you just look at it from a basketball standpoint, it turned into a helluva deal."
"But there’s also no getting around the fact that for the last two years we’ve been wayward in many ways. And so Andre’s return, I think, is huge in a lot of different ways. First, he’s still got plenty to offer, as he showed in Miami the last two seasons. So his addition on the court will be huge for us. And second, he just embodies everything we’re about — versatility, sacrifice, the clear defining of roles, the mentoring that he brings for the younger guys. You throw all that into the equation and Andre is just an enormous addition for us."
Iguodala averaged 4.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 84 games with the Miami Heat over the last two years. Kerr believes the 37-year-old's on-court contributions are only part of what he'll provide.
Kerr expects Iguodala to play any role the team needs him to take on.
Yet that's not as much of a concern as keeping Iguodala healthy. The veteran played 21.3 minutes per game with Miami last year—making five starts—and as he prepares for his age-38 season, Kerr wants him available more for the end of the season than the beginning.
To ensure he's ready for a postseason run, Kerr said he plans to meet with Golden State's training staff to "navigate" the best way to deploy Iguodala during the season. There aren't any questions remaining when it comes to what Iguodala will do when he's available.
"But that’s the beauty of Andre," Kerr said. "You can plug him in at any position and he’ll help you win."
Perhaps it's no coincidence the Warriors haven't returned to the playoffs since Iguodala was traded to Memphis in 2019, but getting back into the postseason isn't as simple as reacquiring him.
Still, faced with whether he would prefer to have him in the locker room, there's no room to misinterpret the coach's feelings: Kerr wants Iguodala.