Warriors

Warriors

HAYWARD -- Andre Iguodala says he did nothing. With a half-grin creeping across his face, he insists he was a mere bystander four weeks ago when Warriors arrived in New York for the express purpose of recruiting Kevin Durant.

Mission accomplished, as the free agent superstar chose to leave Oklahoma City and sign with the Warriors.

Yet Iguodala, despite being the room, casually deflects any credit for the result.

“I didn’t help,” he told CSNBayArea.com early Wednesday evening. “That wasn’t me. I didn’t do nothing. I didn’t have a role.

“The other guys did a really good job. And Steph, he did a really good job of just being himself.”

There it is, Andre being Andre. The veteran forward whose comfort zone is the background, the deeper the better, is nudging Steph Curry into the light of recognition.

Never mind that Iguodala and Curry, along with teammates Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, all flew to the Hamptons and met with Durant. Never mind that Iguodala is the veteran who bonded with Curry and Durant six years ago in Turkey, where they were members of Team USA in the FIBA World Championship.

Curry was 22, Durant 21. Iguodala, at 26, was the voice of wisdom and authority.

Yet, six years later, Durant needed to see and hear all the right things from Curry. This seismic shift in NBA power is Steph’s doing, Iguodala says, not bothering to explain that none of this happens without Curry. That conclusion, Iguodala surmises, should be reached on his or her own.

 

The four Warriors, who were accompanied on the trip by coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers and CEO Joe Lacob, understood they wielded the strongest powers of influence with Durant and his representatives.

With Curry taking the lead, the four Warriors and Durant left their respective crews in the house while they went outside for a players-only meeting that lasted about 20 minutes. Durant had questions. The Warriors had answers.

“Everyone stayed true to himself,” Iguodala recalled after playing a round of golf at Stonebrae, which this week is hosting the EllieMae Classic. “That was the important thing is to just be yourself and not put on some fake façade. It was very real.

“It’s great that Steph is accepting of another superstar coming in. And that Klay and Draymond feel the same way.”

So, too, does Iguodala, who was sitting courtside at Oracle Arena Tuesday night when Team USA, featuring Durant as the main attraction, swept through Team China in a showcase exhibition. Curry was seated an arm’s length from Iguodala, with only Andre’s son, Andre II, between them.

And with Durant sharing as much time as he could with both.

[RECAP: Durant, Cousins lead Team USA to rout of China at Oracle]

“Guys are going to have a lot of fun and guys are going to enjoy playing with each other,” Iguodala said. “We’re going to really enjoy our company. That’s the biggest thing. It’s bigger than basketball.

“We’re often seen as only basketball players, but we’re going to help each other’s lives off the court as well and that’s going to leave a lasting impression on all of us, with some of the personalities and people we have. That’s what I’m looking forward to as much as anything.”

Iguodala, as studious as they come, realizes this incredible acquisition could not have occurred if not for the Warriors finding, through planning and happenstance, ways to keep open the door while laying the welcome mat for Durant.

Assistant coach Ron Adams happens to have previously spent two seasons in Oklahoma City and during that time became perhaps Durant’s favorite assistant. Durant happens to know and like the Bay Area. The Warriors happen to be contenders.

Curry’s contract extension, signed in October 2012, makes him the best value in the league and gave the Warriors room to think big in free agency. Thompson and Green, in each of the last two summers, signed megadeals that still allowed just enough flexibility.

“It’s good timing,” Iguodala says. “With the salary cap the way it is, you’ve got a lot of guys playing underneath their true value and it just happened to be like that. Timing is everything, and hopefully our timing is going to be really good on the court and it leads to championships.”