Denver Nuggets guard/forward Andre Iguodala has elected to opt out of the final year of his contract that was set to pay him between $15.9 million - $16.1 million for the 2012-13 season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Iguodala, 29, promises to be one of the most desired players on the summer market. His agent, Rob Pelinka, informed Denver CEO Josh Kroenke of the plan in a meeting on Thursday in Los Angeles.
"We are fully aware of Andre's intentions and he's well aware of how much we want him back," Kroenke said. "Andre us a huge priority for our organization."
Iguodala will bypass the $15.9 million owed him next season and will be eligible to sign a new four-year deal elsewhere or sign an extension up to five years with the Nuggets.
Iguodala has until June 25 to exercise the early termination clause on his contract, and virtually all players wait until the deadline to officially inform their teams. Without triggering the opt-out cause, Iguodala could only sign a three-year extension with Denver.
This was a move pretty much expected from Iguodala. He has chosen long-term stability over short-term big payout. Will the free agent to be come back to the Nuggets? We will find out soon as free agency is set to begin on July 1st.
Iguodala averaged 13 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists for the Nuggets in 34.7 minutes of action a night and he appeared in 80 of the team's 82 games. Iguodala spoke often about trying to find his place within the Nuggets' offense, but also said after the season that he bonded fast with his teammates. He noted a special fondness for the quick growth between himself and Ty Lawson.
Iguodala took 11 shots per game for Denver, for his career he averages about 11.6 shots per game - on par there. He shot 45.1% from the field and has shot 46% for his career - on par there. He took 3.6 three pointers per game, the most he has taken during a season since the 2009-10 campaign and he made just 31.7% of those shots (a career 32.9% three point shooter aka a little below average for NBA wings).
If you look at Iguodala's basketball reference advanced stats numbers, they are also about on par for his career numbers. However, his playoff advanced numbers looked much better than his career playoff numbers, worth noting. He will be 30 years-old in January and he pretty much is who he is at this point of his career. The Nuggets must determine if he fits in the future plans of this team, but it sounds like Josh Kroenke is already planning on chasing Iguodala hard in free agency.
Check out the shot charts for Iguodala over the past four seasons:
|80 games||34.7 min||62 games||35.6 min||67 games||36.9 min||82 games||38.9 min|
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Iguodala's free throw shooting has been getting worse over the past four seasons, as well. We have seen his numbers dip from 73%, 69%, 61%, to 57% with the Nuggets - he's a career 72% free throw shooter.
I mention the numbers above because our trusted statistician here (Ray Martinelli) wrote a phenomenal piece about what happens to wing players with and without George Karl (click here for that) and I wanted to see what his shot chart looked like before Iguodala came to the Nuggets.
There is a very noticeable change in the 16-<3pt attempts as he took far fewer "long twos" with the Nuggets and there is an uptick in shots at the rim at the more comparable 2009-10 season. Interesting to note. Iguodala can be successful with any type of coach, but it would have been interesting to see what Iguodala's numbers did with another year or two under Karl (just out of curiosity from me).
Will we see Iguodala in a Nuggets uniform again? What type of contract can he get on the open market with a few teams like Atlanta, Dallas, and San Antonio (Iguodala is a better version of Stephen Jackson!) perhaps having some money to spend?
One would think a contract similar to Lawson's 4 year, $48 million would not be hard to come by ... perhaps more or perhaps less.
Time will tell.
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