COMMENTARY| In acquiring Andre Iguodala, the Golden State Warriors secured the services of one of the highest profile free agents available this offseason. While it is a positive step for the team to be a more significant player in the NBA landscape, the signing did not come without a cost.
To free up the cap space required to be able to pay the talented and versatile Iguodala, Golden State had to part with two first round draft picks (2014 and 2017) as well as two second round draft picks as part of a trade in which the Utah Jazz agreed to take the bloated expiring contracts of Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson off the Warriors' hands. Golden State also included former standout reserve Brandon Rush, who missed the past season with a torn ACL.
Both Biedrins and Jefferson were seldom used throughout the season and saw even less playing time during the Warriors' playoff run, so their departures will do no harm. Rush is a quality reserve, but with Iguodala joining Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes the SG/SF rotation looks to be pretty well crowded. All three players figure to command 30 minutes per game or more.
On the court, Iguodala will give the Warriors elite defense and athleticism as well as some much needed veteran presence to hopefully steady the team through difficult stretches. From a talent perspective, Golden State only gets better through the addition. The real measure of these decisions will be whether the team can continue to win. If the first round picks traded to Utah rest in the mid to high 20s then this trade and acquisition will prove to be a coup. But if the organization regresses and fans have to watch Utah draft in the lottery with the Warriors' selections, then history will not look fondly on this offseason.
Another aspect to consider is the development and long-term contract status of young stars-in-the-making Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson. If Iguodala displaces one of the two to the bench, it could hold back their progression. Both players clearly have bright futures and high upside, and the team will also eventually have to make financial commitments to keep them on the squad. With so much money tied up between David Lee, Steph Curry, and now Iguodala, it may be difficult to justify the kind of contracts either player might demand in an extension.
As is often the case with any roster changes, winning cures all ails. Golden State has a new piece to fit into the ever-changing puzzle; hopefully they can find a way to translate that into continued success and perhaps even advance further than the conference semifinals.
Nathaniel Pulliam is an avid San Francisco Bay Area sports fan, and has been following the Golden State Warriors for 16 (mostly brutal) years. He currently covers the team for Yahoo! Contributor Network.
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