In the days and weeks leading up to Kevin Durant officially becoming a free agent last summer, the Warriors were preparing for his departure.
And as Golden State owner Joe Lacob told Greg Papa on Monday night on Warriors Pregame Live: "We were hoping it was Brooklyn if [Durant] left. And the reason is that we knew that D'Angelo [Russell] was a possibility in a sign-and-trade. That was really our only possibility of getting something back with Kevin Durant leaving."
Unfortunately for the Warriors, they were forced to trade Andre Iguodala (along with a top-four protected 2024 first-round pick) in order to acquire Russell. They could have passed on D-Lo and kept the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, but that would have limited their flexibility to build out the roster beyond the 2019-20 season.
Iguodala told Ethan Strauss of The Athletic on Monday night that he was not ready for his time in a Dubs uniform to come to an end.
“I feel like we had something to prove again," he explained. "The way we played that Game 6 [against the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals]. We had the game, like, one or two possessions to push it to a Game 7.
"The way we played that night, Steph [Curry] was due for a big game. I had it going that night. We felt like we were going to run it back. We always felt like we had something to prove. And we felt like people didn’t respect us like they should.”
Iguodala has a point. Many people in the basketball world completely wrote the Warriors off last year when KD went down in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets. The Dubs responded by winning Game 6 on the road (Iguodala recorded 17 points, five steals and three assists) -- which is Steve Kerr's favorite game as the team's coach.
And despite going to the NBA Finals five straight years and capturing three championships along the way, there are those that still question the Dubs' legitimacy.
Yet with NBA TV ratings down this year and the prevailing narrative that it's been a "boring" season so far, perhaps the Warriors were a good thing for the league in general.
"I think they’re kind of missing what we brought to the table the last five years," Iguodala explained. "You know, people don’t know what they’re missing till it’s gone. They don’t appreciate it till it’s gone.
"But we always knew it was something special. As long as we were connected and the core was together we were in prime position to keep making runs at it.”