Warriors' Biggest Winners and Losers from 2021 NBA Free AgencyAugust 19, 2021
Warriors' Biggest Winners and Losers from 2021 NBA Free Agency
Considering the Golden State Warriors entered the 2021 NBA offseason as one of its biggest wild cards, their summer was relatively uneventful.
Rather than swinging a megadeal for a win-now star—which, theoretically, could still happen at any moment—the Dubs kept and spent their two lottery picks, sniffed out free-agent values where they could and, most importantly, spent a metric ton of money on Stephen Curry's extension.
There was movement on the fringes, though, which is where we'll find their top two winners and one loser of free agency.
Winner: Andre Iguodala
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaaack.
Andre Iguodala spent two years away from the Warriors but never really left. Physically, he was gone, first as an exiled member of the Memphis Grizzlies, and then as a rotation regular for a season-plus with the Miami Heat.
Mentally, though, it was impossible to separate the idea of Iguodala from the images of him playing such a pivotal part in Golden State's wildly successful run.
It's fitting, then, that as soon as the 37-year-old returned to the open market, he returned to the place where he forever etched his name in the hoops history books.
Iguodala told Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times:
"Who would have thought I'd have the opportunity to go back to the place where I was able to have, whatever you want to call it, legacy years, in terms of the accomplishments, winning multiple championships, the relationships that I was able to build with some of my closest friends and teammates? The relationship with the fans, the relationship with the Bay, the opportunity to end it here, was just something special."
Free agency, more than anything, is a quest to find the right fit. Iguodala should slide back in the Bay like a hand in its favorite glove.
Loser: Kelly Oubre Jr.
It's hard to label anyone a loser who just secured $17 million in his bank account.
But for the longest time, it seemed Kelly Oubre Jr. might be headed to so much more in free agency.
His lone season with the Warriors had its ups and downs, but he still seemed prime to cash in on the open market. In March, a league source told Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle that Oubre could "warrant contracts in free agency worth north of $20 million annually."
Even if that sounded optimistic, it didn't come off as outlandish. Oubre, who's still just 25, is an athletic wing who defends multiple positions, explodes to the basket and can catch fire from three. Two-way wings are ultra-valuable in the modern NBA, and they often get paid accordingly.
For whatever reason, though, it just didn't play out that way for Oubre. He wound up with just a two-year commitment from the Charlotte Hornets, and the second season is only guaranteed for $5 million.
Winner: Steve Kerr
How does the head coach of a team that didn't sign a superstar emerge from free agency as an obvious winner?
We'll let Warriors skipper Steve Kerr explain.
"He [Iguodala] means the world to us," he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole. "When he left, we kind of lost our soul in a lot of ways. The last two seasons, we've been somewhat rudderless in many ways. I suspect we're going to get our rudder back with Andre."
At his best, Iguodala gave Golden State a Swiss Army knife stopper who could run offense, consistently make the right leads and a tone-setter in the locker room with his embrace of a reserve role that shifted the roster into overdrive.
Even if the 37-year-old can't check all of those boxes the same way any more, he'll be a snug fit on the floor and a huge help away from it.