After months of watching from from afar, veteran forward Andre Iguodala is ready to get back onto the court.
Iguodala, now with the Heat after Miami struck a deal to acquire him from the Memphis Grizzlies ahead of the trade deadline this week, is finally “excited about basketball again.”
“Playing with [the Golden State Warriors], we go to the Finals every year, and the media scrutiny behind every single move — you get exhausted,” Iguodala said, via ESPN. “You've had a good break, but then you kind of see where the game's trending, you don't know, it's like, 'Where do I fit in?'
“And it's kind of a blessing in disguise, like this is the perfect spot. I can do a lot of different things here. A lot of different things. It doesn't have to be just defense or just passing. Or just in the corners. It's going to be good. It's going to be good. I'm going to do a lot of different things.”
Iguodala was sent to Miami from the Grizzlies with Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill in exchange for Justise Winslow and Dion Waiters. He signed a two-year, $30 million extension with the Heat, too, which reportedly includes a team option for the second year.
The 36-year-old — after spending the past six seasons with the Warriors — had refused to report to Memphis after they acquired him in a trade this offseason, which made for an awkward situation, to say the least.
That break, though, isn’t concerning for the Heat one bit.
“He’s an elite defender, and elite team defender, elite assist-to-turnover percentage; he ranks up into the top of those areas that are real tangible,” Miami president Pat Riley said this week, via ESPN. “You don’t lose that in seven months. And it probably was a blessing in disguise that he didn’t play for seven months.”
Naturally, his holdout caused many to speculate where he’d end up playing this season instead, if at all.
Many even thought he’d return to the Warriors, a rumor even Iguodala didn’t quite get.
“That was an interesting one,” Iguodala said, via ESPN. “I kept seeing [the rumors], but you know me, I kept quiet in terms of basketball this whole time. It was the Lakers all the time, or it was the Clippers the next day, and then it was, 'No, he ain't going nowhere, he's going back to the Warriors.' That one just kept popping up, and I don't know where that one got legs.
“That was interesting, but I think everybody just got kind of thrown off by surprise with this move, which I think sometimes is a blessing in disguise, you don't know what's coming, and then boom the right opportunity comes by, and I think this is the right move.”
When he makes his debut with the Heat, however, remains to be seen. Miami will take on the Trail Blazers in Portland before heading to the Chase Center to play the Warriors on Monday, both prime opportunities for Iguodala to get back on the court.
But before that happens, he just wants to get through practice with the team on Saturday.
“I don't know,” Iguodala said of his status for Sunday, via ESPN. “We got to figure that out. I haven't played in a while. [Saturday's] going to be good though. [Saturday's] going to be good.”
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