Andre Iguodala back to Warriors? Steph Curry 'of course' would welcome that


Andre Iguodala back to Warriors? Steph Curry 'of course' would welcome that

NAPA -- Stephen Curry and the Warriors find themselves in unique territory.

No longer the prohibitive NBA championship favorites, they will be without stalwarts Klay Thompson (knee surgery), Durant (sign and trade to the Brooklyn Nets) and Andre Iguodala (traded to the Memphis Grizzlies) to open the 2019-20 NBA season.

Iguodala's absence is particularly noteworthy because the Warriors haven't won a championship without him, and his influence was the glue that kept the locker room together since he signed in 2014. His leadership extended from the team's young prospects to its star-studded core.

Though Iguodala, who still lives in the Bay Area, was shipped to the Grizzlies in June, he has yet to report to the team, and has been in regular contact with Warriors players, including Curry and Kevon Looney. Iguodala even told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole on Sunday that, in a recent conversation with Looney, "it was like I forget that I’m not on the same team."

Curry, speaking Wednesday after his Safeway Open Pro-Am round, seemingly agrees with that sentiment.

"I honestly haven't felt it," he said. "Yet."

"We haven't been in camp," Curry added. "Monday or Tuesday will be a real shell-shock in terms of his presence being missed and how much he's meant to our team. I've played golf with him three times over the summer. We'll feel it."

The Daily Memphian reported Monday that Iguodala and the Grizzlies agreed that the forward would not report to training camp while he waits for a trade or a buyout. While unlikely, it's possible that Iguodala could return to the Warriors. If he's traded again and receives a buyout from the team that acquires him, he could rejoin Golden State for the veteran minimum.

"A lot of if's, man," Curry said of the possibility.

But would he welcome the reunion?

"What?" Curry answered rhetorically with a blank stare. "Of course, man."

[RELATED: Steph meets pro golfer he gave $25K for wife's cancer fight]

Curry has embraced his new group, though. Last month, he stopped by trainer Patrick Turner's Unlimited Potential in Burlingame for a late-night pickup run that featured two of those young players: Jordan Poole and Omari Spellman. That session left Curry intrigued.

"I just like the excitement," Curry said. "It's a brand-new situation, opportunity for every single one of them, all the way down the line. So, camp will be fun. It will be a different vibe in terms of building chemistry, building fundamentals, and guys just competing and battling and earning their spot on the floor.

"All of that is exciting. I know we have a lot of promise, a lot of guys that can play huge roles for us, and they're going to have to."

Why Andrew Wiggins is Warriors' most hurt if no camp, second NBA bubble

Why Andrew Wiggins is Warriors' most hurt if no camp, second NBA bubble

Steph Curry would have nothing to gain from scrimmaging against the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks or Minnesota Timberwolves.

Neither would Draymond Green.

Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney -- who is said to be far along the road to recovery -- might benefit, strictly from the standpoint of conditioning.

As teammates for eight seasons, mostly of them highly successful, none of Curry, Green and Thompson needs a week or 10 days in a second NBA bubble to learn how to play together. They also know every line of every page in the playbook.

Andrew Wiggins, however, is an altogether different matter.

Unenthusiastic as the Warriors are about the possibility of a bubble designed specifically for the eight teams excluded from the original bubble in Orlando, Florida -- a concept that is diminishing by the day, according to a report Tuesday in The Athletic -- they surely know it could have been good for Wiggins.

It would give the coaching staff a few more hours on the court with their starting small forward.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Acquired in the trade that sent D’Angelo Russell to Minnesota, Wiggins landed in San Francisco on the evening of Feb. 7. He dressed for 12 games as a Warrior before the season was halted due to the coronavirus.

Wiggins joined Green in the lineup three times and Curry once. He has yet to play with Looney or Thompson. Wiggins barely knows them and wouldn’t get any better acquainted if somehow there was a momentum shift that resulted in a second bubble. Curry, Green and Thompson almost certainly would be exempt for the aforementioned reasons, as well as the possibility of injury.

Getting Wiggins on the floor with Curry, Green and Thompson would be assured only if the Warriors were to hold an internal camp, scrimmaging among themselves in San Francisco. Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been consistent in saying that is his preference.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, there is no knowing when everyone can gather at Chase Center. The City of San Francisco has been forced to push back some of the tentative timelines released more than a month ago.

[RELATED: Paschall discusses his good 'Welcome to the NBA' moment]

There is every reason to believe Wiggins would benefit from second-bubble court time with Marquese Chriss, Damion Lee, Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole and others. But most of Wiggins’ game minutes next season will come with the Curry-Green-Thompson core.

The team’s flowing offense requires both repetition and anticipation, otherwise it risks becoming a turnover machine. Wiggins will pick that up.

The defense is another matter. It’s more complex and requires one to synchronize with his teammates, particularly those with whom he’ll share the most court time.

Would a second bubble help Wiggins? Yes, but not as much as an internal camp.

Warriors' Eric Paschall discusses his good 'Welcome to the NBA' moment

Warriors' Eric Paschall discusses his good 'Welcome to the NBA' moment

Eric Paschall turned 23 years old on Nov. 4.

How did he spend his birthday? By dropping 34 points and 13 rebounds on the Portland Trail Blazers in a 127-118 Warriors win, of course.

“That was one heck of a day for me,” Paschall recently told The Athletic's C.J. Holmes. “I just felt like it was perfect because it gave me a chance to show what I could really do and what I was really capable of in this league.

"I felt like that was my ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment in a good way in terms of I was able to showcase everything and Coach (Steve) Kerr just let me rock. It was a lot of fun to be able to get the first win in Chase Center on my birthday.”

The No. 41 overall pick in the 2019 draft had another 'Welcome to the NBA' moment one month earlier.

"In my first preseason game, I didn't expect to be the first person in off the bench," he said in June on Howard Beck's "The Full 48" podcast. "So coach Kerr's like, 'Eric!' He laughs in my face and just goes, 'You got AD.'

"So I have to guard AD, I have to guard LeBron."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

And Paschall more than held his own that night, and practically every other night all season. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound forward entered the NBA ready to contribute immediately. How?

Well, Villanova coach Jay Wright deserves a lot of credit.

[RELATED: Ex-Warrior West cites two traits when praising Paschall]

"He makes kids tough. At the end of the day he’s going to make you work to be tough and I respect him," Paschall told Holmes. "Now that I’m in the NBA, if you’re soft, you’re going to be eaten alive, and that’s something you just have to deal with.

"That’s one thing with Coach Wright: He pushed me to not be soft. You always have to fight and keep pushing."

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