Warriors

Exclusive: Warriors' Andre Iguodala says 'I’m going to be done soon' in NBA

Exclusive: Warriors' Andre Iguodala says 'I’m going to be done soon' in NBA

OAKLAND – Andre Iguodala is counting down the remaining years of his NBA career. No need to count the days or weeks, because others have been doing that since, oh, about 2015.

“I’m going to be done soon,” he told NBC Sports Bay Area this week. “I could probably play a legit five more years, but I’ll probably max out at three more after this year – maybe three more.

“But if I’m not here, that will weigh heavily on what I will do. I possibly have another year here – if we win. That’s it. I know that. I’m fine with it.”

Possibly? Reminded that he is under contract for the 2019-20 season, at 17.2 million, the final year of the three-year, $48 million deal he signed in July 2017, Iguodala waves it off.

“That’s if we win,” he said. “If not . . .”

Iguodala is in his 14th NBA season. He is the oldest Warrior, two months from turning 35. This is his fifth season out of the starting lineup and the third during which his minutes will be monitored by the training staff. He has reached the career stage when NBA players begin wondering about their athletic mortality, leading to the questions most would prefer to dodge.

How much longer can I do it? Am I still making an impact? Do talent evaluators believe in me? Does my team appreciate me?

The Warriors appreciate Iguodala. His intellect and chameleon-like ability to adapt to circumstance and devote his energy to what the team needs at that moment have endeared him to coach Steve Kerr. His teammates marvel about Iguodala’s value being beyond the quantifiable. Don’t look at the numbers, they say. Watch the game.

[RELATED: Andre Iguodala explains why he likes but doesn't enjoy playing in NBA]

It’s certainly true that no member of the Warriors is subjected to more debate about his significance. Some believe he’s overpaid; his salary ranks fourth among players that opened the season as reserves. Others are convinced he’s well worth the money as long as the championships keep coming.

“Perception can become reality for people in the position of filing out rosters, like GMs,” Iguodala said. “Sometimes, perception is their reality, even when it’s wrong. It could mess up someone’s perception of you, what they think of you as a player. They say, ‘Oh, he is done.’ That is really hard. I don’t really worry about it.

“But at the same time, it is a thing. I know it’s out there. But at this point, I know I’m still pretty good. I really believe that. But if people don’t know that, I’ll just be like, ‘OK, I’m done playing.’ ”

If it seems Iguodala has something to prove – or believes he has something to prove – it’s because that’s his nature. He’s a watcher and listener. He can’t ignore the noise because he needs to be prepared for anything. As much as he may want to silence skeptics, he realizes stepping out of character would disrupt the balance of the most successful NBA team since the Lakers of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

For the Warriors to prosper, they need Iguodala to do handle details both complex and obscure, particularly in big moments.

[RELATED: Andre Iguodala references Kobe-Shaq when asked about Draymond-Durant]

“It’s all about that balance,” he said. “Sometimes, I have to be the guy that says, ‘OK, we’ve got to play the right way.’ If that means I’ve got to pass up some shots to make sure everybody else is in the right flow, has the right mindset and is getting their touches, so be it – as long as I know that’s going to help us in the long run.”

Iguodala has started the past seven games, the first three at point guard and the last four at small forward. Few players in the league are asked to handle both duties in a season, much less in the same week. It’s an assignment he accepts because, well, now it’s working.

He also knows this is temporary, that he may return to the bench when Stephen Curry returns, likely this week, and certainly will go back to his Sixth Man role when Draymond Green returns, likely next week.

“We will still have to get back to finding our comfort zone within different roles,” Iguodala said. “A lot of guys on the second unit have been very aggressive, and we needed that. But with me going back to the second unit, I’ll have to be aggressive. Being in the starting lineup, I kind of tailored it back.

“It’s kind of like I’m itching to go back to the second unit.”

Why? Because that means the Warriors as projected will be intact. Iguodala can get back into his routine, coming off the bench to add the missing ingredient while wondering how many minutes he has before his career clock hits zeroes.

NBA rumors: Knicks contemplating big one-year DeMarcus Cousins offer

NBA rumors: Knicks contemplating big one-year DeMarcus Cousins offer

Warriors big man DeMarcus Cousins will become an unrestricted free agent Sunday, and he just might be bound for the Big Apple when it's all said and done.

Marc Stein of The New York Times has the information:

So, the Knicks wouldn't consider the same offer for Cousins if Kevin Durant does sign with them?

If you were hoping Cousins returning to the Warriors was a serious possibility, you shouldn't hold your breath. They only can offer Boogie a maximum of $6.4 million next season.

"I would say that the hope is that frankly he [Cousins] can do a lot better financially than what we could offer him," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters on June 14. "But who knows? Every year is different.

"I could absolutely foresee a place for DeMarcus here if he wanted to come back. It's just a question of what are his goals, what is out there for him."

Well, it's safe to assume that "considerable" means way more than $6.4 million, which would be very hard for Cousins to pass up.

[RELATEDBoogie thanks Dubs fans, sends message about next season]

Will any other teams pony up big money for the soon-to-be 29-year-old? Will someone offer a multiyear contract?

Boogie has been through a lot in the last 18 months, and hopefully he gets what he's seeking.

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Steve Kerr issues early message to Warriors fans about next season

Steve Kerr issues early message to Warriors fans about next season

It's way too early to know what sort of expectations the Warriors will bring into next season.

Kevin Durant is a free agent, and it's anybody's guess what the two-time Finals MVP will decide. Even if he does re-sign with the Dubs, he'll probably miss the entire season as he recovers from his ruptured right Achilles.

Klay Thompson also is a free agent. And even though it's widely expected that he will return to the only franchise he's played for, the five-time All-Star will be sidelined for much (if not all) of the 2019-20 campaign as he makes the journey back from his left ACL tear.

Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala both are entering the final year of their contracts.

DeMarcus Cousins most likely is gone. Shaun Livingston might retire, or he could be waived or traded. Kevon Looney is an unrestricted free agent, and it's far from certain that he'll be back for a fifth season.

Jonas Jerebko is a free agent, Andrew Bogut is headed back to Australia, and the Warriors haven't yet extended qualifying offers to Jordan Bell or Quinn Cook.

The Warriors selected three players in last week's NBA draft, and it's unclear if any of them will be mainstays in the rotation.

There's a lot of uncertainty right now.

"We'll see what our roster ends up looking like," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic on Wednesday. "Everything's on the table for us going into next year -- from starting jobs, to style of play -- we got a lot to sort through. And from that perspective, I think it's exciting.

"I think our fans ... obviously we want to compete for a championship every year, and our fans probably expect that, and we've had that the last five years. But I think next year, there will be a lot of interest from our fans in watching our young players grow, and watching a team form and watching a style form. And we'll see how all that comes together.

"But I know I'm excited and our staff is excited for what's coming."

Kerr essentially is telling Warriors fans ...

... to make other plans in early June because a sixth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals looks very unlikely.

[RELATED: Kerr provides update on assistant coach Adams' job status]

There already are plenty of people in the basketball world who believe the Dubs will be fighting just to make the playoffs.

Again, it's way too early to make any sort of predictions. But Year 1 in Chase Center is going to be ...

... different in many ways.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram