The story begins during the craziest NBA summer of recent memory.
The offseason started as a terrible one for Warriors fans and only got worse after the NBA Finals. The Toronto Raptors had defeated the Golden State Warriors less than a month previous, with Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant both tearing muscles in their legs, leaving media and fans across the world wondering if Kevin Durant would stay with the more or less disabled Warriors team.
But KD had already made his decision (technically he didn’t decide until July 1, but we all know he decided way earlier. Go tampering!), and was heading to the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn.
The Warriors were able to complete a sign and trade, to get D’Angelo Russell, but they had to give their 2020 first-round pick to the Nets.
The decision was “made” July first, and the trade was completed late on July 7th, a few hours after Andre Iguodala was officially dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies. It was a straight robbery from the Grizzlies. The only person they had to give up was Julian Washburn, while they snagged a protected first-round pick and a 3-time NBA champion.
It was assumed that the Grizzlies would be tanking once again, and so Iguodala would soon be bought out. But that was not the case. Instead of letting Iguodala play his potentially last NBA season on his terms, the Grizzlies refused to engage in buyout talks and told Iggy to report to training camp (September 9th).
Not surprisingly, Iguodala and his team were very surprised, as was almost all of the NBA world. This report immediately created a gulf between the Grizzlies’ front office and Iguodala and his team, which wasn’t surprising in any way, shape, or form.
A few weeks after Memphis told Iguodala to come to training camp, the Daily Memphian reported that an agreement had been reached between the Grizzlies and Iguodala and his team, in which Iguodala would not be present for training camp or team media day.
The same day as that settlement, in late September, Bleacher Report ran a story, in which Iguodala shared how he found out about getting traded:
“So, I’m texting my wife, telling her I’ll probably get traded because I think it’s 100 percent sure, even though everyone else is saying, it’s only a chance. Then, once KD left, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ll probably get traded. They’re probably going to do a sign-and-trade, so they can get something back, to at least get assets for him.’ No one was thinking that. But I was thinking they’ll want to get assets back because they can’t just let him go. And they’ll probably move me as well. So, she asked me where I thought I would go. I said, ‘I don’t know, I’ll probably end up in Memphis or some ****’.”
“She says, ‘For real?’ I was like, ‘Maybe. But probably not. I don’t know.’
“The next day, I got the message. It was Memphis. I fell out laughing.”
As you can probably guess, that did not sit well with the organization, or the players.
But the situation calmed down (kind of), and every once in a while some sports analysts would run out of things to talk about and try to find the “perfect” trade scenario.
But for months, nothing transpired. A couple of days before the trade deadline (February 4th), David Aldridge reported that Iguodala was prepared to sit the remainder of the season unless he was released or traded to a team on his list.
The night Aldridge broke the news, young Grizzlies’ guard Dillon Brooks was asked about it. He said:
“A guy that’s on our team that doesn’t want to be on our team, I can’t wait til we find a way to trade him so we can play him and show him what really Memphis is about.”
Ja Morant, 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year favorite, retweeted that quote with a “🗣”. He then liked a tweet sent by a Memphis rapper that read “**** Iguodala”.
But that didn’t go unnoticed by other players. Steph Curry, the only unanimous MVP in the history of the NBA, posted a picture of Iguodala holding the NBA Finals championship trophy with a large “🤫”, which was heavily talked about.
But then Ja had to send another message, this time through his own tweet. He tweeted a picture of Kevin Durant, 2x NBA Champion and 2x Finals MVP with the Golden State Warriors, also holding the NBA Finals trophy, with the emojis “🤷♂️🤫”.
Obviously, Ja, Brooks and other Grizzlies’ players did not appreciate the fact that Iggy was getting paid for sitting out and being a nuisance, and were unafraid to voice their opinions. And more power to ’em!
But that is now behind Iggy and the young Grizzlies’ players, as Iguodala was recently traded. Solomon Hill, Jae Crowder and Iggy were sent to Miami, James Johnson was sent to Minnesota, and Justice Winslow, Dion Waiters and Gorgui Dieng were sent to Memphis in a 3-team, 7-player trade. Iguodala immediately signed a 2-year $30M contract with the Heat, once again lighting social media on fire.
Andre Iguodala once again proved to the NBA world that he is one of the smartest players in the game right now, on and off the floor.
Not only did he sit out and get some rest for 8 months, he also got his money and is now, once again, on a contending team.