Andre Iguodala Jersey

The Golden State Warriors are facing a momentous year. Not only are they chasing a historic fourth title in five years but they’re also seeking to keep the team together in a critical summer where several key players are free agents.

One man who’s seen it all is Andre Iguodala, the Warriors’ veteran leader and newly elected First Vice President of the National Basketball Players’ Association (NBPA). Iguodala’s been a free agent twice, first joining the Warriors and helping to catapult them to their first title, and then staying with the team in the summer of 2017, helping them elevate the franchise to the status of an undisputed dynasty in the modern game.

Forbes Sports Money blog recently caught up with Iguodala to talk about his new role with the NBPA and his off-court business ventures. Iguodala also shared his perspective as a 15-year veteran and NBPA leader on how the process of free agency has evolved over the years, and why he’s looking so good as the Warriors aim for the three-peat.

Iguodala: Well, it’s been an interesting dynamic in how that’s evolved over the years. The narrative changes over the course of time. There was a time when players didn’t understand how much money was being made. They didn’t understand BRI (Basketball-Related Income) until I think the first player – it was a bench player – signed a yearly million-dollar contract. That’s when some of the players’ eyes started to open up a little bit more. You had longer contracts in the ’90s or late ’80s. Can you imagine signing a 25-year contract for $25m and then after a few years you realize that with inflation and the growth in BRI the contract would be outdated after two or three years?

Then the NBA was worried about contracts being too long because there’s a risk in that with injury or players not living up to the performance of the contract. So they always tried to shorten the contracts. It’s interesting now with the shortening of the contracts, you know four-year deals, five-year deals, you start seeing guys do three-year deals, start seeing guys do one-year deals.

It’s putting more of the power back with the players. I think the players just continue to smarten up, understanding that there’s a small window of opportunity to maximize your career. Your location can affect that depending upon your goals, depending upon your value, depending upon what you’re trying to get out of your game.

You still want to keep competitive balance though. We got to continue to keep that in mind. It’s interesting to see how we’re going to go forward with different rules, with the new CBA, that allow players to feel like they have the freedom to play where they want to play. In the regular market place, you can choose wherever you want to work freely without any scrutiny. At the same time you want to take care of the game, you want to have competitive balance across all the teams in the league.

Does the growth in fan interest in free agency in the age of social media make it more difficult as a player? Or do you just have to block that out?

Iguodala: You want to know what your customers are thinking. That’s just business 101 right? In the age of data, you can access all your fans, you can access your customers, you can see what they’re thinking. The NBA is very tech-savvy. I think it was ranked the most innovative tech company in all of sports.

The NBA does a good job of having that continuous news cycle where the fans are engaged with the sport. There’s never too much fan engagement, there’s never too much content, or media surrounding the players. They use free agency as a marketing tool as well to keep everyone engaged on a yearly basis. But like I said there’s a fine line between trying to keep competitive balance versus fans losing interest if they don’t feel like their team has a chance to win.

You’ve been a free agent twice, first joining the Warriors, then re-signing there. Has the whole experience changed much even during that time?

Iguodala: They were different in terms of strategy. The first [time] it was a team who was excited to acquire me, feeling like I was the missing piece to put us in the position to be somewhat where we are right now. I think we kind of beat expectations in the first few years, and now we’re just maintaining and keeping all the pieces in place. It was a lot of excitement.

The second time around it was more a chess game. When a player has success and where they want to stay, the team may have a little bit of leverage. There’s a little bit more of that chess game going back and forth. It was a learning experience as well. But you had two parties that had the same goals in mind and wanted to get it done. That’s not the case for everybody, so just being fortunate to be in a situation like that.

On the court, you’re having a really good year. Was there anything you did over the summer? Or is it the goal of hitting that threepeat?

 

Iguodala: The motivation is always the same. You want to be in tip-top shape, you want to be healthy. You want to play at your full potential. On this team, it’s a little different. Your full potential is different with this team having so much talent. I’m having really good nights and it may not show up on the stat sheet. It’s been like that for a couple of years here. I’ve just embraced that. I haven’t let that affect my mood or how I go about the next game. I know that I affect the game in different ways that may not be seen, or be celebrated or respected as much.

But definitely last summer I got healthy. I think that’s the key. Fans don’t see the ins and outs of injuries. You’re putting so many minutes on your body. This is my 15th year, injuries start to linger once you get older. I’m a load guy, very athletic, I jump around. I’ve been running around for a long time and there’s high stress on your body when you’re moving so much, playing so many minutes and practicing so much. Last summer I was able to get some treatment earlier to let myself recover, take some time off and recover really well.

Matt Barnes Jersey

Matt Barnes wasn’t supposed to be a part of this championship-winning Golden State Warriorslineup. He signed up to make money for a bad Sacramento Kings that didn’t sniff the playoffs. Yet he finished as a member of one of the greatest teams of all-time.

Barnes accidentally ring-chased with the Warriors when the opportunity hit him. Coincidentally, it happened to be with a team he had history with. It was a storybook ending to a career that ran full circle.

Durant went down with an MCL injury late in February, which cost him two and a half months of play. The Warriors needed a replacement forward, and Barnes, a former Warrior, had recently been waived by the Sacramento Kings.

Days earlier, Golden State promised to sign Jose Calderon with its final roster spot. Durant’s injury shifted the Warriors’ plans, and though they followed through on their promise and paid Calderon, he was released two hours later.

That spot then belonged to Barnes.

In 20 appearances with the Warriors, he scored six points and added four rebounds, starting in a total of five games.

Barnes also has the Kings to thank for his new role

Barnes played for the Sacramento Kings until days before the trade deadline when he was cut at the expense of the DeMarcus Cousins trade to the New Orleans Pelicans. Sacramento needed to free a roster spot to complete the blockbuster deal.

For about a week, nobody knew if he’d even play again this season.

But a chance came with Durant’s injury and Barnes being cut became a grand opportunity to play for the team coming off a 73-win season.

Barnes has history with Golden State, making this win special

Barnes was a role player for the “We Believe Warriors,” made famous by knocking off the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks as the No. 8 seed in 2007. The team was Golden State’s first to make the playoffs in 12 seasons, and it only did so behind a 16-5 record to close the season. That team included Baron DavisJason Richardson, and Monta Ellis.

Barnes averaged 10 points and five rebounds for the team, starting in 23 games.

He was emotional after learning he’d be returning.He also texted former “We Believe” teammate, Stephen Jackson, telling him that he was going to get to finish what they started.

He was right.

Now, in the unlikeliest of times, Barnes is an NBA champion. It took nine different teams and ultimately a lucky break, but it happened for the 14-year veteran.

Barnes is a Warriors because Kevin Durant got hurt

Latrell Sprewell Jersey

Former New York Knicks guard Latrell Sprewell turned 48 years old on Saturday.

The New York Knicks teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s were known for players like Patrick Ewing, Alan Houston, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas, all of whom contributed to winning teams. Amidst them was Latrell Sprewell, the outspoken guard that spent five seasons with the team.

Sprewell mostly started for the Knicks, aside from the 1998-99 season, prior to which he was suspended for one year for an incident with the Golden State Warriors and had his contract voided.

So, once Sprewell joined the Knicks, it was a chance at on-court redemption, which included a roster spot in the 1999 NBA Finals and starting for head coach Jeff Van Gundy’s teams in the seasons afterward.

Well, 15 years after Sprewell played his last game with New York, on Saturday, he celebrated his 48th birthday.

Sprewell originally went to the Warriors in the 1992 NBA Draft as the No. 24 overall pick, a class that included Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Christian Laettner and Robert Horry. He played there until the 1997-98 campaign, with the altercation that led to the voided contract.

Sprewell’s five-and-a-half seasons with the Knicks resulted in 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game on 41.8 percent shooting and 34.9 percent from three-point range. This run included the aforementioned spot in the 1999 NBA Finals vs. the San Antonio Spurs and a trip to the 2001 All-Star game.

In the Finals, which the Knicks lost in five games, Sprewell averaged 26 points and 20.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 20 playoff games and eight starts. Van Gundy also played him in 37.8 minutes per game as one of the team’s primary scorers.

After this, the Knicks sent Sprewell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a four-team deal in the 2003 offseason. He played two seasons there, with Kevin Garnett as a teammate, averaging 14.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists,

Despite putting up respectable numbers in 2004-05, Sprewell never played in the NBA again, as he would not play for a team’s $5 million mid-level exception or the minimum salary.

NEXTSprewell’s NBA career had its positives and negatives, but his time with the Knicks produced quality numbers on teams that made the postseason.

Mitch Richmond Jersey

Nicknamed “The Rock,” Mitch Richmond was solid from the get-go of his NBA career – winning NBA Rookie of the Year honors as a member of the Warriors in 1995. He had been the fifth-overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft following two years at Kansas State. He joined Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway in Golden State to form the famous “Run TMC” (Tim, Mitch, and Chris) trio, which led the team to the Playoffs.

After three seasons, Richmond was traded to Sacramento where he would spend the prime of his playing career. The consistent, reliable shooting guard gave the Capital City its first superstar.

He was selected as an All-Star in 1995 and went on to secure MVP honors – the first and only time a Kings player has earned the award.

In the summer of 1996, Richmond helped guide Team USA to Olympic gold in Atlanta – a young Richmond had previously won bronze with Team USA at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Displaying his tremendous scoring ability throughout his Sacramento tenure, he averaged more than 20 points per game in each of his seven seasons and reached a pinnacle of just under 26 points per game during 1996-97.

Nevertheless, arguably Richmond’s finest season was the 1995-96 campaign, as he led Sacramento to a First Round Playoff series against the Seattle SuperSonics. As the No. 8 seed, the Kings pushed the eventual Western Conference Champions to four games. In the Kings lone series victory – also the team’s first-ever postseason win in the Sacramento-era– No. 2 quieted the Sonics in Seattle with 37 points in Game 2.

In 1998, Richmond was traded along with Otis Thorpe to the then Washington Bullets for power forward Chris Webber. By 2001, the former Kings guard had moved on to the L.A. Lakers where he eventually capped a brilliant career by winning an NBA Championship.

His career and legacy is now commemorated in the rafters of Sleep Train Arena. High above the hardwood, hangs the No. 2 jersey of an Olympian, All-Star, MVP, Champion and Sacramento legend.

David West Jersey

David West Jersey

The debate on Kevin Durant and where he will be playing next season continues to grow as everybody seems to have their own opinion on if KD will be moving away from San Francisco.

Majority of sources say that Durant will be leaving the Warriors after this season even if the team goes on to win their third championship in a row. Nobody is sure where the two-time Finals MVP will land but there have been strong rumors of the star being linked to several sides including the Clippers, Lakers, and Knicks.

However, there is still the possibility that Durant will continue to play on with the Warriors next season. Former teammate David West is one of those people who believe that Durant isn’t going anywhere, he revealed his thoughts on the matter when he spoke to Steinmetz and Guru on 95.7 the Game.

West gives an alternate view of looking at the situation, the power forward once walked away from $11 million so that he could chase a ring with the Golden State Warriors. This may be why he believes that Durant’s head and heart will stay in Golden State as the side has the chance to win multiple more championships with their almost unbeatable lineup.

Unfortunately, we will have to wait a long time before we know the intentions of Durant as his main focus is achieving the ultimate three-peat of championships with the Warriors. Like most players in his position, the mindset of free agency for KD would change from week to week, from month to month, it’s a decision that Durant won’t want to rush into.

Alongside Steph Curry, Durant has led the way for the Warriors, putting the side in contention for another postseason long-term run. If he decides to reveal his intentions of leaving the Warriors, there will be 29 other franchises who will be licking their lips at the possibility of securing his talents for their own team.

Jordan Bell Jersey

Jordan Bell Jersey

Jordan Bell could use a few moments, if not an entire game, to remind the Warriors and himself that his prodigious ability can lead to a consistent, productive, and perhaps a long and distinguished NBA career.

The second-year power forward will have a high-profile chance to do that Thursday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

With Draymond Green unavailable with a toe sprain on his right foot, Bell is sure to receive more playing time than usual and, therefore, be subjected to a generous amount of spotlight. Somebody has to deal with uniquely gifted Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bell is high on the list.

“We’re never as good without Draymond,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday after practice. “He’s a phenomenal defensive player, the best one in the league in my book, one of the best I’ve ever seen and a guy who has to do what modern-day power forwards do, which is cover the entire floor and rebound and stay in front of guards. Nobody is better than Draymond at that.

“How do we fill that void? JB does a good job at those things. (Kevon Looney) does a good job. And we can play small. We’re just filling in.”

Bell is the likeliest starter, though Looney also will see plenty of Antetokounmpo. Alfonzo McKinnie will get opportunities, with Andre Iguodala and Jonas Jerebko also pitching in. Kevin Durant, the best physical matchup against Antetokounmpo — both are 6-foot-11 — also can anticipate a few turns.

It takes a platoon because the “Greek Freak” is a consensus top-10 player, and arguably in the top five.

“He’s just very unique,” Stephen Curry said of Antetokounmpo. “He owns his game. He understands how he can be impactful every night. He obviously plays extremely hard every night. Some of the stuff he does . . . your jaw drops.”

The Warriors are still trying to figure out what they have in Bell, who has shown that he also is capable of jaw-dropping moments. There were times during his rookie season when he flashed tremendous potential but also times when his activity and athleticism didn’t make an impact.

That inconsistency remains an issue. Bell’s training camp and preseason amounted to a maddening mix of highlights and lowlights, mostly because the 6-9 Los Angeles native was trying to add new elements in real time.

“That set him back a little bit,” Kerr said. “He got a little out of sorts. He was turning the ball over a little bit. He was just trying to expand his game rather than just being great at what he’s already good at.

“In this league, you have to establish something to hang your hat on. Once you do that, you can become a regular contributor. And then you try to shore up your weaknesses.”

After playing a total of 19 minutes in the first four games of the season, Bell averaged 14 per game over the last seven. He’s averaging 1.9 points (53.8 percent shooting from the field), 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.

The Warriors await a breakout game, as does Bell.

Meanwhile, the coaching staff and teammates have more faith in Looney. Though he lacks Bell’s tremendous explosion, Looney is a reliable presence and more likely to provide mistake-free moments. Looney stabilizes, while Bell has a considerably higher excitement quotient.

The Warriors would settle for fewer highlights if it means fewer lapses, particularly on defense. Bell has heard from his coaches, from his teammates. They try to enlighten him, rooting for him to discover the best of himself.

A little bit of that on a big stage Thursday night would go a long way.

JaVale McGee Jersey

JaVale McGee Jersey

With Lakers starting center JaVale McGee on the bench, backup center Ivica Zubac picks up five personal fouls in four minutes of play — and gave Johnathan Williams a chance to shine on the floor.

According to Reddit user K-LAWN, he fell short of an NBA record. Former Dallas Mavericks forward Bubba Wells fouled out in three minutes back in 1997 when he was put in the game to repeatedly foul Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman.

With the Lakers in search of their first win in the young season, this may seem like a recipe for disaster for the team. The Lakers signed McGee and brought him over from the Warriors during the summer. Zubac was with the team last year.

The Lakers may need to go out and shop for a better backup center than Zubac, if he continues to play poorly. It may be the growing pains of the young season and learning to play with LeBron James and others, but it shall be interesting to see what happens with the backup big man and how he performs as the season goes on.

As for McGee, he has been one of the Lakers best players so far this season. He fouled out during overtime, however. He finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.

McGee if you recall, used to constantly be on Shaqtin’ A Fool, but with his play a couple of years picking up, you can see how important he is to the teams he is playing for.

It will be interesting to see how coach Luke Walton handles the center position behind McGee, as that seems like it could be a problem for the team in the future.

Patrick McCaw Jersey

Patrick McCaw Jersey

Golden State Warriors restricted free agent Patrick McCaw has an impending decision on his hands, with a $1.7 million qualifying offer still on the table for his services. The offer will expire on Oct. 1 at 11:59 p.m., and if picked up, he would have an implicit no-trade clause due to CBA rules, according to cap guru Albert Nahmad.

The Warriors could make him a restricted free agent once again next summer by extending a $2.1 million offer, which could increase to $3 million if he meets the starter criteria.

McCaw won’t get a much better deal elsewhere, even if he chooses to play the field, having shown limited amounts of his true potential during his last two seasons with the Warriors. Golden State isn’t able to promise him more minutes or a better role, due to the sheer depth of this team and the very limited opportunities available for a player who has yet to show any consistent areas of contribution during a solid stretch of time.

There is a reason why McCaw was the 15th and last player to be considered for a contract after the signing of newcomer Jonas Jerebko.

The enticement for extending a qualifying offer is his familiarity with the system, giving head coach Steve Kerr one less player to teach and a capable backup in case of an injury.

McCaw suffered a ghastly back injury himself at the end of last season after he was leveled by Vince Carter and fell on his back. The 22-year-old had to progress from walking, to running, to eventually conditioning himself back into playing shape, making his return in the latter end of the postseason, though getting only some spare minutes on the floor.

Rick Barry Jersey

1. Growing up, his goal was to be a professional baseball player.

2. He made the All-NBA 1st Team his rookie season. Same thing in his first year in the ABA.

3. He married the daughter of his college coach, who also coached him in the ABA.

4. He’s one of only two players to average more than 23 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in the NBA. The other one is Michael Jordan.

5. He didn’t want to play for the Virginia Squires because he thought his kids would learn to speak with a Southern accent.

6. He led the NBA in free-throw shooting percentage six different seasons.

7. He’s the last player to average 35 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists in an NBA season.

8. He published his autobiography at age 29.

9. He’s the only player to lead the NCAA, ABA and NBA in scoring.

10. He regretted joining Moses Malone‘s Rockets at the end of his pro career: “It was the worst move I ever made. What a zoo.”

11. He said the scrutiny Donald Trump is facing is a disgrace.

Chris Mullin Jersey

Chris Mullin Jersey

Stephen Curry showed respect to a bygone era of Warriors basketball during the parade on Tuesday, rocking a “Run TMC” hat, a nod to the early 90s Golden State squad featuring Hall of Famers Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway, and Mitch Richmond.

Mullin joined Tolbert & Lund shortly after the parade and called the gesture “awesome.”

“Dude that was awesome,” Mullin said. “Someone just texted me that a little bit ago and I was like ‘I’ve got to thank Steph man.’ I actually shot it out to Mitch and Tim and they got right back like ‘Oh man that’s awesome, Steph giving us a little respect.’ So thanks to Steph and maybe I’ll see him at Round Hill (Country Club) in a few weeks.

“Thank you Steph Curry.”

The trio, coached by Don Nelson, only played together from 1989-1991, but had a profound impact on the Bay Area sports scene at that time. Mullin explained why.

“I thought it was longer myself,” Mullin said. “I think at the Hall of Fame induction when I was with Mitch that’s when I first thought wow we only played three years together, wow. I think it’s a combination of style of play — we played the way they do now just not as good — and then at that point a starved Bay Area. We had a nice little run, there had been such a drought, that they appreciated it.”

Mullin closed by praising this Warriors group, and head coach Steve Kerr in particular.

“Cherish it man,” Mullin said of this current Warriors dynasty. “I know the fans do because they’ve been through so much, but this is truly a dynasty. Incredible collection of talent, but I’ll tell you what Tom, and you know better than I do, Steve Kerr, I think his personality, his humility, the way he deflects attention from himself, really had a huge impact. To get back there four years in a row it’s just really incredible.”

Listen to the full interview below. To hear Mullin on Steph, start from the beginning.