Warriors

How to free agent: Iguodala played Rockets, market like a fiddle this offseason

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USATSI

How to free agent: Iguodala played Rockets, market like a fiddle this offseason

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.

Draymond Green exits season-opener vs Rockets with left knee strain

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USATSI

Draymond Green exits season-opener vs Rockets with left knee strain

Towards the end of the third quarter Tuesday night, Draymond Green drove to the basket and got fouled. But he came down awkwardly and appeared to injure his left knee.

After hobbling to the free throw line and making two shots, he played out the final few seconds of the quarter. He then went to the locker room.

After examination, the Warriors diagnosed Green with a left knee strain and ruled him out for the rest of the game.

In three quarter, Green almost posted a triple-double, finishing with nine points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists.

Warriors will feel Iguodala's absence Tuesday vs Rockets, perhaps beyond

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AP

Warriors will feel Iguodala's absence Tuesday vs Rockets, perhaps beyond

OAKLAND -- We don’t know how severe Andre Iguodala’s back strain is, only that it is serious enough to force the veteran forward to the sideline for the season opener.

For a game he definitely wanted to play.

“It doesn’t make sense to play him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday, two hours before tipoff of the opening-night game against the Houston Rockets.

Iguodala’s absence will hurt the Warriors not only against the Rockets but also anybody else, for as long as he is unable to take the floor. Back problems have a way of choosing when they go away. Until then, Iguodala is at its mercy.

Losing Iguodala for this game means, first and foremost, that Klay Thompson will be mostly alone in chasing James Harden. It’s an important defensive assignment typically shared by Thompson and Iguodala.

Furthermore, the Rockets’ fast-paced offense is designed to generate constant pressure. They led the NBA last season in 3-point shots, made and attempted, and they stretch the floor as well as any team in the league, including the Warriors.

Iguodala’s intellect, defensive instincts and superior anticipation are most valuable against such teams as Houston. Draymond Green and Iguodala can wrecking offenses as well as any two players in the league, their quick hands causing havoc that is one of the keys to the Warriors playing championship-level defense.

“Andre is as smart a defensive player as I’ve ever seen,” Kerr said. “Draymond is incredibly smart, too. Scottie Pippen (Kerr’s former teammate with the Bulls) was so brilliant. Andre reminds me a lot of Scottie in terms of quarterbacking the defense and disrupting plays before they happen, anticipating where people are going to be, where the ball is going to be.

“So Andre is critical to our defense. “

For at least one night, and maybe more, Green will have to turn to another sidekick when Kerr unleashes the “Death Lineup” without Iguodala.

Shaun Livingston and Nick Young can deliver some of what Iguodala provides on offense.

Thompson can compensate for some of the lost offense, but he’ll have his hands full with Harden. Though Kerr said Pat McCaw would fill some of the minutes lost with Iguodala, the coach can’t reasonably expect McCaw to physically cope with Harden, a crafty veteran who also is 40 pounds heavier.

So let’s see what happens when the Rockets come down the floor with three or four players, all capable of launching from deep, scattering to get to their spots.

“It’ll be a challenge for us to play without (Iguodala) tonight against one of the best offensive teams in the league,” Kerr said.

The coach believes Iguodala will be ready for the next game, Friday in New Orleans. The Warriors, for the sake of their defense, can only hope so.