The Warriors have agreed to sign unrestricted free agent guard/forward Andre Iguodala to a multi-year contract, according to multiple reports.
"It's a great opportunity," Iguodala told NBA.com. "I'm trying to win a championship."
To make way for Iguodala's arrival, the Warriors will trade reserve forward Richard Jefferson and reserve center Andris Biedrins to the Jazz, according to NBA.com and the San Jose Mercury News. The Mercury News and CBSSports.com reported that forward Brandon Rush was also headed to the Jazz . Yahoo! Sports reports that Utah will send guard Kevin Murphy to Golden State and receive "multiple draft picks," including a first-round pick in 2014 and 2017, in exchange for taking on the contracts.
The free-agent negotiating period opened on Monday. Contracts can’t officially be signed and trades can't officially be consummated until July 10.
Iguodala's departure continues a summer of massive change in Denver: 2013 Coach of the Year George Karl was fired and 2013 Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri left for the Raptors.
In recent weeks, the Warriors had been seen as one of five suitors for Lakers free-agent center Dwight Howard -- along with the Lakers, Rockets, Mavericks and Hawks -- but dumping the expiring contracts of Jefferson and Biedrins could complicate potential sign-and-trade scenarios. Golden State still has center Andrew Bogut, on an expiring contract, and youngsters Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes to offer the Lakers, assuming Howard wants to head north and L.A. is willing to participate in a sign-and-trade.
Iguodala, 29, averaged 13 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.7 steals last season. He reportedly received a four-year, $50+ million offer from the Kings earlier this week, only to have it yanked hours later.
Jefferson, 33, averaged 3.1 points and 1.5 rebounds in 56 appearances last season. He is entering the final season of a contract that will pay him $11 million.
Biedrins, 27, averaged 0.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in 53 appearances last season. He is entering the final season of a contract that will pay him $9 million.
Rush, 27, holds career averages of 9.1 points and 3.6 rebounds over five seasons with the Pacers and Warriors. He played just two games last year due to a season-ending knee injury. He is entering the final season of a contract that will pay him $4 million.
Murphy, 23, averaged 0.9 points in 17 games last season. His contract for next season is non-guaranteed as long as he is waived by August 1.
The Warriors eliminated the Nuggets in the first round of the 2013 Western Conference playoffs.
GOLDEN STATE -- Grade: A-
Just when it looked like the contracts for Jefferson and Biedrins would prevent the Warriors from "taking the next step" in the postseason hierarchy, Golden State managed to dump both and acquire an All-Star caliber talent in return. The two first-round picks are a real cost, one that prevents this from being an A+ deal, but they are a reasonable expense to make this serious talent grab. Also lost in this shuffle are Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, two key role players during last season's playoff run, who agreed to sign with Cleveland and Sacramento, respectively, once the Warriors went all-in on Iguodala. The Warriors surely entered the offseason knowing they couldn't keep the whole band together, and they acted swiftly and creatively to make sure they didn't regress.
Iguodala is a player worthy of the costs mentioned. One of the league's elite perimeter defenders, he is also an excellent finisher in transition and should mesh well with his new Warriors teammates. He helped the Nuggets markedly improve their team defensive numbers in his one season in Denver and he joins a Golden State roster that's teeming with offensive talent and that can always use another stopper. Between Iguodala, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, the Warriors now have three versatile wings that can defend multiple positions and that can be used interchangeably. Offensively, Iguodala should be able to get in where he fits in, allowing Stephen Curry and David Lee to remain as focal points.
The terms here, which are less than Sacramento's yanked offer to Iguodala and less than Denver's reported offer to keep him, are very good. This deal will carry the durable Iguodala through the rest of his prime.
UTAH -- Grade: B-
Who could possibly have seen this coming? Utah's summer took an unexpected turn, as management allowed both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap to sign as free agents, with Charlotte and Atlanta respectively, while using the resulting cap space to take on the contracts of Richard Jefferson, Biedrins and Rush. Those incoming dollars -- $24 million in total -- don't matter all that much. All three contracts expire next summer and won't prevent the Jazz from their ultimate goals next season: developing their young core and positioning themselves nicely for the 2014 draft. Rush should be able to contribute in a solid rotation role, which is a nice bonus. Still, the Jazz appear to be overpaying for their new picks, even if you leave Rush out of it and acknowledge that a pick in next year's draft must come at a premium price. Golden State's pick should land somewhere in the 20s in 2014: that's a nice pick but not a home run. The assumption is that the Jazz never found the right trade offer for Al Jefferson or Millsap this summer and, rather than settle, they decided to maximize their long-term flexibility as they go through the process of finding out which of their many youngsters can evolve into building blocks. One just wonders whether there was a deal to be struck at some point over the last 18 months that could have resulted in a direct return of assets. Hanging onto both Al Jefferson and Millsap through a year-plus of trade rumors, only to see them walk out the door uncompensated with no postseason success to show for it, seems like a lost opportunity.