Andre Iguodala was very nearly an ex-Warrior, which we suspected at the time and had reaffirmed by ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
He was reportedly very close to joining the Rockets after "the best recruiting presentation of all time" from GM Daryl Morey that included a plan to beat the Warriors and highlighted how much more money Iguodala would take home, after taxes and cost of living, in Texas. Houston thought they had him.
But the fascinating lesson in all the twists and turns of his free agency/hunt for maximum value is how rare situations like his actually are.
He took control of his negotiations, something most players don’t (or feel they can’t) do. He was working with the casino’s money in that he had several teams that wanted him, rather than the other way around. He was negotiating with people who had targeted pitches from which he could make easy and educated choices.
It was free agency in heaven. Most aren’t that good.
Then again, most players aren’t Andre Iguodala, whose comfort in his own skin, both as a player and otherwise, gives him an advantage most athletes don’t have. They live in an uncertain world, where one is always an ACL, a bad personal choice, a foolish decision or just plain bad luck away from the street.
In other words, free agency would work for him because he had developed the tools to make it work for him.
But it also serves as a healthy reminder for the Warriors’ brain trust that they are not the be-all and end-all that so many of their acolytes think they are. They may already know that – one suspects they do – but knowing how close they came to losing one of their own, one they wanted desperately to keep, is a good post-it note with the legend, “Not everybody loves you unconditionally all the time. Not even you.”
In short, while they lucked their way into Nirvana (nobody could have figured Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson or Draymond Green would grow as they have), they had to work hard to polish it (Kevin Durant) and even harder to maintain it (Iguodala).
So the lesson is this: Dynasties are hard to make, even harder to maintain, and they don’t even have one yet.