The Golden State Warriors have reached a verbal agreement on a four-year, $48 million contract with free agent Andre Iguodala after completing a salary cap-clearing trade with the Utah Jazz, according to ESPN and media reports.
The Warriors had begun shopping contracts in hopes of creating enough cap space to try to sign free-agent center Dwight Howard, ESPN.com reported Thursday night.
Howard later confirmed via Twitter that he will sign with the Houston Rockets.
On Friday, though, it became apparent that the Warriors were slipping in the Howard sweepstakes, so Golden State shifted to trade the expiring contracts of Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush to complete a deal with Iguodala.
The Warriors found a match in the Jazz, who will get a first-round pick in the highly anticipated 2014 draft, as well as the Warriors' first-rounder in 2017, to take on the salaries, according to Yahoo! Sports, which first reported the Iguodala deal.
The Warriors' agreement with Iguodala can't be finalized until Wednesday when the league's annual moratorium on player business is lifted.
Iguodala averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 80 games last season for the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets were hoping to entice Iguodala to come back to the Mile High City, especially because he could return on a five-year deal while the most he could get elsewhere was four years. The Nuggets offered Iguodala a five-year deal worth $60 million with $52 million guaranteed, a person familiar with the situation said, adding that Iguodala would've made only $4 million in the final year of a front-loaded deal.
Sacramento, led by new general manager and former Denver executive Pete D'Alessandro, also sought Iguodala's services. The Kings reportedly offered Iguodala a four-year deal worth at least $52 million but pulled the deal when Iguodala didn't immediately agree, in part, because they didn't want to be used as leverage.
The departure of Denver's top defender could be a big blow to a team that won a franchise-best 57 games during the regular season only to flop in the first round again. This already had been a tumultuous offseason for the Nuggets, who had NBA Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri leave to take over as general manager in Toronto. Later, the team severed ties with Coach of the Year George Karl.
A few Nuggets players turned to Twitter to express their feelings on Iguodala's decision to bolt for the Warriors.
Good luck to @andre though. It was a pleasure. Great guy!
— Wilson Chandler (@wilsonchandler) July 5, 2013
Business is business
— Ty Lawson (@TyLawson3) July 5, 2013
Iguodala even sent a message to Curry that ended with the phrase, "LETS GET IT!!!!" Curry responded by saying it would be a great four years.
On the flip side, the biggest boon for Utah might be three veterans with expiring contracts, which will give the Jazz tons of space when a slew of top free agents hit the open market next summer. Jefferson is due about $11 million, Biedrins $9 million and Rush $4 million in the final year of their deals.
While production from Jefferson and Biedrins has declined substantially, Rush was considered Golden State's top reserve and perimeter defender until he tore a ligament in his left knee in the home opener. Rush has averaged 9.1 points and 3.6 rebounds since he was drafted 13th overall out of Kansas in 2008 by Portland, which immediately traded him to Indiana.
Only makes me work harder
— Brandon Rush (@BRush_4) July 5, 2013
The Warriors had been chasing Iguodala for years, but the right move never came together until now.
General manager Bob Myers had said all along that despite the team's perceived salary cap restrictions that a big-time free agent could be signed this summer. The Warriors also will renounce their rights to restricted free agent guard Jarrett Jack and forward Carl Landry to clear space for Iguodala -- a price they believe is more than enough for his addition, which could push promising rookie Harrison Barnes into a reserve role.
Jack and Landry had helped the Warriors go from a 23-43 team during the lockout-shortened season to a 47-35 team last year, earning the conference's sixth seed and eliminating Denver in the first round. But mounting injuries wore the Warriors down and the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs sent Golden State home in six games.
Well it was fun while it lasted
— JARRETT JACK (@Jarrettjack03) July 5, 2013
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.