Warriors

Andre Iguodala finding it difficult to move on from time with Warriors

Andre Iguodala finding it difficult to move on from time with Warriors

LAGUNA SECA — Standing in a quiet space away from the roar of IndyCar engines, Andre Iguodala is willing to share some of the stories and thoughts that have transpired in the 12 weeks since the Warriors traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies.

For example: There are times, he admits, when he forgets he no longer is a Warrior, the voice of wisdom among former teammates Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney, as well as coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers.

Another example: There have been conversations with his new team — a buyout is not inconceivable — though he has yet to go to Memphis.

Iguodala explains that his presence at the racetrack festivities Sunday probably goes back to childhood, when his father, a NASCAR fan, would hijack the TV on Sundays and leave his sons and everyone else to pick up a book or watch along with him.

Iguodala relishes telling one Warriors story in particular, which developed in the days before and after the trade. He finds it funny. In a dark and surreal way, it is.

“Yo, I got this crazy story,” Iguodala tells NBC Sports Bay Area. “No one knows. No one knows this story. But I have a sense that something is going down; Bob Myers and I are pretty cool. We have our conversations, so we’re on the same page. It was, ‘It might happen, but it might not. Most likely, it will. So, we’ll see.’

“So, I’m texting my wife, telling her I’ll probably get traded because I think it’s 100 percent sure, even though everyone else is saying, it’s only a chance. Then, once KD (Kevin Durant) left, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ll probably get traded. They’re probably going to do a sign-and-trade, so they can get something back, to at least get assets for him.’ No one was thinking that. But I was thinking they’ll want to get assets back because they can’t just let him go. And they’ll probably move me as well. So, she asked me where I thought I would go. I said, ‘I don’t know, I’ll probably end up in Memphis or some s--t.’

“She says, ‘For real?’ I was like, ‘Maybe. But probably not. I don’t know.’

“The next day, I got the message. It was Memphis. I fell out laughing.”

A massive grin crosses Iguodala’s face. He likes this story and still has the text exchange with his wife, Christina, on his phone.

Citing the business of basketball and insisting he’s always aware of that aspect, he says he was not surprised by the trade. But it’s evident he’s not exactly eager to join the Grizzlies.

“We’ll see,” he says. “OK, maybe I shouldn’t say we’ll see. But we’re trying to figure out things on both sides. They’re trying to figure out some things, and I’m trying to figure out some things. As of today, we’re on the same page. Camp opens the next week. We’ll see. We’re on the same page, though.”

Is Iguodala ready to move on? Not quite. Too soon.

Iguodala spent most of the summer in the Bay Area, where he was a Warrior for six seasons, reaching the NBA Finals in the last five and winning three championships during the run. He also plans to live in the Bay Area for at least the next five or six years, no matter which jersey he wears when the NBA season begins next month.

There has been talk of a buyout deal with the Grizzlies. There also have been reports that Memphis does not plan to go that route. Asked if a buyout still is possible, Iguodala neither confirms nor denies the likelihood. Rather, he states his position on the matter.

“At this point, the only buyout that makes sense -- if I’m speaking on someone else’s behalf, thinking as an agent -- is you don’t leave money on the table,” he says. “Especially in this league. Because you’ll never get it back, no matter what people say. Negotiations are a tactic, so you’ve got to be careful how you approach it, or how you verbalize what you would do going forward. But you can’t leave anything on the table.”

This is the man who left $4 million on the table six years ago, when he joined the Warriors. The Sacramento Kings had presented an offer sheet worth $52 million over four years. The Nuggets and Warriors reached a sign-and-trade agreement, with Iguodala signing a four-year contract worth $48 million.

This indicates Iguodala is willing to make concessions -- if he believes it’s worth it.

He chose the Warriors and enjoyed six seasons. From starter to Sixth Man to occasional starter -- see the 2015 NBA Finals, for which he was named MVP -- and always a coach on the floor and at practice, Iguodala accepted his roles and thrived.

“It was something special,” he says. “But I’m not the type to really reflect and enjoy because right now everything is about what’s next. I know it means more than I realize right now. I just haven’t been to sit back and say, ‘Yo, this was amazing.’ Everything has been focused on what’s next. There are so many things I want to accomplish that I haven’t been able to. But I know in 10 or 15 years, I can look back and say, ‘Yo, that was crazy.’

“But the relationships, with Steph and Klay and Draymond and KD and Shaun and Steve, the front office. Those things are special.”

When Iguodala saw Curry last Monday at TPC Harding Park for Curry’s benefit golf tournament, they talked about the usual things. The Warriors. The future. Upcoming practices. Until Iguodala caught himself.

“It was like I forget that I’m not on the same team,” he said. “I was texting with Loon and asking him what he was eating and talking about Jiu-Jitsu training. And then, it’s like, ‘Oh, I forgot. We’re not even on the same team anymore.’ I laugh about that all the time.”

[RELATED: Klay proclaims Warriors dynasty 'far from over']

Training camps open next week. The regular season begins on Oct. 22. Iguodala says he hasn’t bothered to look at the schedule, which he always does, partly to designate certain days, home or away, for golf possibilities.

Not interested. Not yet.

If you get the feeling that Iguodala is not ready move on, especially to Memphis, credit your powers of perception.

Steph Curry, Damian Lillard deserve better than ridiculous debates

Steph Curry, Damian Lillard deserve better than ridiculous debates

The evidence gets clearer by the day. With the coronavirus pandemic and all its inglorious but sensible restrictions, too many people with too much idle time are flocking to social media and diving keyboard-first into irrational discussions.

Such as the one that raged Tuesday night and into Wednesday and was unrelated to Kamala Harris as a vice presidential candidate:

Is Damian Lillard better than Stephen Curry?

The answer is no, but that doesn’t stop “debate.” Nor should it.

One of the charming aspects of sport is that it is, like a crowded barber shop, a virtual playground for silly arguments. Sports are where conflict prompts research before meandering to laughter and expressions of mutual respect. It’s OK to agree to disagree. On those rare occasions when it escalates to violence, the blame lies not with the disagreement but with whomever loses perspective.

With Lillard lighting up all comers in the NBA bubble, pulling the Portland Trail Blazers into favorable playoff position -- and doing so in spectacular fashion -- it’s natural that hyperbole would take flight into a loony dimension. Recency bias is real, and it’s the fastest route to folly.

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

Dame is the best point guard in the bubble, so he must be the best point guard in the NBA. The first claim defies debate, the second invites it.

Which leads the conversation directly to Curry, the point guard against whom all others should be measured. He has the least to prove and is the most decorated player in the league not named LeBron James.

Curry is the only active point guard with three championship rings. He’s the only point guard with two MVP trophies, and the only player in history to nab the award by a unanimous vote. Moreover, he is the only point guard that can make a legitimate claim to altering the offensive philosophies and defensive strategies of basketball at all levels, regardless of gender.

All the things Dame wants most, Steph already has.

But Dame is coming. And hard.

His performance in Florida has been a portrait of stone-cold determination and preposterous production. Lillard is averaging 37.0 points (48.5 percent shooting, including 41.4 percent from deep, 88.8 percent from the line) and 9.3 assists per game. In their last two games, with increasingly high stakes, Dame put up 51 and 61 points. Of the 69 points that Portland totaled in the fourth quarters of those two games, both excruciatingly close, he scored 40.

In scoring 61 points to put away the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, Lillard joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with three games of 60 or more points in a season.

Hats off. Caps, too. Lillard lives up to his Dame D.O.L.L.A. (Different on Levels the Lord Allowed) nickname. The praise coming his way, is richly deserved. He shouldn’t plead with anyone to “Put some respect on my f---ing name,” as he did Tuesday night.

Curry might not be caught uttering that phrase, but it surely lives in his heart. That’s where these two players are most alike. Each was a three-star recruit out of high school and landed at a mid-major -- Steph to Davidson, Dame to Weber State. Each entered the NBA to the yawns of skeptics. They feel disrespected because they’ve been disrespected.

But comparing Dame to Steph is cheap debate bait.

[RELATED: Trainer says Steph is 'as bouncy and energetic' as ever]

Curry, he has the chips and the dip. His teams crush Lillard’s at every postseason turn. Steph’s presence in the Bay Area is responsible for the Warriors hysteria that has surfaced over the last seven years. Chase Center does not get built without the team’s runaway success, and that success does not happen without Curry.

At the root of this silly debate is, sadly, perception.

Despite his record and his innate toughness, Curry always will be perceived by some as a soft kid from the suburbs, son of a millionaire NBA player. His baby face, relatively fair skin and his exhibitions of joy are magnets for jealousy and bound to lure detractors.

Lillard gets props for surviving his upbringing. He’s a Brookfield Village kid, raised in a five-block stretch between railroad tracks and I-880 in East Oakland. He's a credible rapper. His court demeanor is of such intense focus it’s almost trance-like. He is serious business.

Curry and Lillard deserve better than to be fantasy-pitted against each other, with slander flying both ways, at a time when one is radioactive and the other inactive.

Debate can be fun, but rarely is it vital. How about we cool the keyboards a bit and allow each to be magnificent in his own right? Both are, after all, bound for the same Hall of Fame.

Watch Warriors' Klay Thompson use dog Rocco for curls during workout

Watch Warriors' Klay Thompson use dog Rocco for curls during workout

Normally, Rocco just watches Klay Thompson when he's working out. But on Tuesday, the pooch got in on the action.

In a video posted by the Warriors shooting guard, he did 12 curls where he used Rocco as the weight.

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

In early July, Thompson posted a video of Rocco providing moral support while he rehabbed his surgically repaired left ACL.

During the early days of Thompson's rehab, Rocco was at his side as he went through rigorous exercises with a trainer.

Thompson missed the entire 2019-20 NBA season after tearing his left ACL against the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He reportedly was medically cleared to start training without restrictions in June.

[RELATED: Trainer says Steph "bouncy and energetic"]

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Monday that Thompson and Steph Curry worked out together at some point over the last few months.

I think we can safely assume Rocco also was there for the Splash Brothers' workout.