So yeah Nuggets premier free agent decided to not sign with the Nuggets and instead go with the team that knocked out the Nuggets in the playoffs. Word is that the Nuggets offered better contracts, from a 4 year - 52 Million to a 5 year - 63 Million offer. Even the Kings tried with a 4 year 56 million offer. Yet Iguodala chose a 4 year 48 million deal instead.
So it wasn't about money then. The Nuggets offered more and Iguodala chose less. This was about the direction the team was going in. So what direction was the team going in?
Lets recap things that happened since Iguodala made the move to the Nuggets:
1. Nuggets give up Afflalo, Harrington, 2014 first rounder and a 2013 second round pick to acquire Iguodala.
2. Nuggets do not extend Ujiri's contract while it's in his last year and let it run out despite interest from other teams (76ers).
3. Nuggets go into the trade deadline with a good record after an underwhelming start. The team decided to not make any moves and ride it out with the existing roster.
4. Nuggets finish the season strong with a 57-25 record but lose it's second best scorer and one of the better team defenders to injury. Also teams leading rebounder is out with an ankle injury and doubtful for the playoffs.
5. Nuggets lose in the first round to the Warriors, who are on an inspired run and take full advantage of a Nuggets roster missing just the right pieces.
6. Denver let's Ujiri walk to Toronto. Getting nothing in return to boot. A situation that would never have arised had they renewed Ujiri when they had control over him or atleast gotten something in return for him leaving like a draft pick atleast.
7. Denver fires George Karl, citing no official reason. Unofficial reasons in the press include, development of McGee, lack of playoff success and playing veterans more minutes than front office liked. Going as far as "management wouldn't mind fewer wins if it meant younger players played more"
8. Denver let's Pete D'Alessandro, assistant GM of the Nuggets and favorite for the GM job go to Sacramento as their new GM.
9. Denver hire Tim Connelly as GM. Connelly was apparently a "rising star", despite being with two organizations who have no success whatsoever and moderate success if any.
10. Denver hires Indiana assistant Brian Shaw as Head Coach. A coach with pedigree of winning both as a player and as an assistant and also cited as the major influence in the development of people like Bynum, Hibbert, Paul George and Lance Stephenson.
11. Denver trades away it's first rounder for a second round pick and cash.
12. Denver trades the starting center of a 57 win team for a backup power forward who has missed most of the last two seasons with injury.
13. Denver make no moves to improve the roster, only making an offer to Andre Iguodala. There's no news of Denver being linked to any player would improve the team.
14. Iguodala signs with the Warriors who aggressively move contracts to make room for Iguodala and are also in the running for Dwight Howard (unsuccessfully). Denver meanwhile get nothing in return for an investment in which they gave up a young asset like Afflalo and a draft pick from the very stacked 2014 NBA draft.
When a free agent leaves his team for some other franchise there are some very lazy criticisms like "moneygrabbing" and "ringchasing". This clearly wasn't a case of moneygrabbing as Denver and Sacramento offered more money. Why then did Iguodala leave a 57 win team to go to a team that won 47 games.
On one hand you have a team that built on it's successful season and went on aggressively to get better keeping the things that made them successful and trying to get rid of parts that didn't work and upgrade them. On the other you had a team that let the best executive in the association walk away, let his assistant go. Fired a veteran coach and one of the proponents of the Iguodala trade in Karl. It's well known Karl was a fan of Iguodala as long back as wanting to trade Melo for Iguodala. Then traded it's starting Center for a backup power forward. Unofficially let it be known that they would rather play youngsters over getting more wins. And the front office made moves that were clearly geared towards making JaVale McGee happy rather than doing things to make sure Iguodala stays.
McGee has done nothing to justify the actions of the front office in trying build this team around him. I don't think you build a team around Iguodala but you do everything to sign him since he is an asset that can be used to get picks/players. During Ujiri's tenure the Nuggets did the same with Nene.
I can't blame a veteran(ish) player for walking away when the front office is making moves towards getting younger rather than winning. When a front office is more concerned with making a clown like JaVale McGee happy rather than building around it's best players like Lawson, Gallo and Faried. And I can't blame him from going to a team actually tryin to accomplish everything that the Nuggets are not doing, like aggressively trying to acquire a draft pick, trying to upgrade on an already good situation at center and removing dead space to try and get better defensively. Iguodala didn't sign with the Warriors for money, he signed with them because their front office has shown a desire to get better.
While the Nuggets front office has shown nothing. No aggressiveness to get better, to not even keep what made them good. The blame lies squarely at the foot of this new front office that were advertised as "rising stars" but only look like incompetent "yes sir" hires by Josh Kroenke.