Golden State Warriors small forward Andre Iguodala nearly joined the Houston Rockets this summer after "the best recruiting presentation of all time" before ultimately signing a three-year contract with the Dubs.
On Wednesday, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reported the 2015 NBA Finals MVP canceled his remaining free-agent visits after meeting with Houston. There was a "strong sentiment" he'd join the Rockets before Golden State agreed to increase its offer to keep him on the team, Haynes reported.
Houston general manager Daryl Morey and head coach Mike D'Antoni pitched Iguodala on how he'd fit in their fast-paced, high-scoring brand of basketball alongside shooting guard James Harden and point guard Chris Paul, whom the team acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers less than a week earlier.
Haynes noted while the versatile sixth man was "impressed" with the presentation, a call from Harden to Morey during the proceedings "grabbed his attention." Paul then "stormed into the suite" to bolster the pitch by talking up the organization, which "captivated" the veteran swingman.
After canceling his other meetings, Iguodala was close to leaving the Warriors, but he told his agent, Brandon Rosenthal, to make one final call to the Dubs, according to Haynes. General manager Bob Myers said he'd contact the ownership group to see if he could secure additional funds and called back to confirm he did.
In July, the 33-year-old University of Arizona product agreed to a three-year, $48 million deal to stick with the Warriors after having played the last four years with the star-studded squad.
"Sometimes guys get in trouble when you try to use leverage with another team and they don't think they're ever going to go there but they try to use them as leverage. I never take that approach. Whenever I take a meeting or have another opportunity with another organization, I take it very seriously.
"At the end, it came down to (the fact that) we won two championships in three years, have a special thing rolling. Draymond [Green] text me and said, 'I don't care how much you make, just want to keep this thing rolling.' We got a great relationship. [Kevin Durant] text me as well. I had to find Steph [Curry]. He's out enjoying himself, but he said the same thing."
Signing Iguodala away from Golden State would have helped the Rockets in their battle for Western Conference supremacy. Instead, the Warriors kept him and remain the definitive title favorites heading into the 2017-18 season.