Steve Kerr was as frank as it gets in an interview with ESPN’s Zach Lowe, revealing where his mind was at as the Warriors were bracing for Kevin Durant’s departure in 2019. The front office made moves persuading a sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell in that event, and, in turn, needed to part ways with team- and fan-favorite Andre Iguodala.
“That [Iguodala] trade was a great example of why the coach should not be the general manager,” Kerr said. “If I had been in charge, I wouldn’t have done the deal, and we wouldn’t be sitting here with Andrew Wiggins and [Jonathan] Kuminga.”
Kerr was on vacation in Hawaii infrequently checking his phone as Warriors GM Bob Myers was running out of time to sign off on the trade that sent Iguodala to the Grizzlies.
“I was crushed,” Kerr says. “Like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe we are losing part of our soul.'”
In hindsight, everything’s worked out perfectly as the Warriors are tied at one game apiece with the Celtics three years later in the NBA Finals — and Iguodala is back in town. But the path to get here was anything but.
The Wiggins-for-Russell deal negotiations were chaotic
A tussle over draft picks ensued for months between the Timberwolves and Warriors with each side thinking it had leverage with Russell’s ill fit in Golden State and Minnesota’s stark interest in the guard being widely public since the previous summer.
“There were months of conversations,” Myers said in Lowe’s piece. “Probably as much as any trade I’ve ever done.”
The debate over protections on the draft picks ended up worth it for the Warriors, who landed a top-3 protected first-round pick along with Wiggins. That didn’t stand in the way of the team drafting Jonathan Kuminga at No. 7.
The Warriors could win another ring because of those decisions
Golden State could’ve ignored reality and gambled on Durant without a backup plan, or soured relationships to a point where a sign-and-trade would’ve been impossible. They could’ve stuck with Iguodala.
But that would’ve meant no Wiggins, who through two Finals games has scored 31 points with 11 rebounds and three blocks, taking defensive stands against Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
He just might be the difference-maker.
The Warriors odds to win the 2022 championship are set at -110 (bet $110 to win $100) and Wiggins’ odds to win Finals MVP are a longshot set at +12000 (bet $100 to win $12,000).