San Antonio Spurs: Free-agent pitch to Andre Iguodala included tech hub

By Rob Wolkenbrod
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12: Andre Iguodala
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12: Andre Iguodala /

The San Antonio Spurs met with Andre Iguodala in the offseason and reportedly offered him a unique incentive to join the franchise.

The San Antonio Spurs were linked to Andre Iguodala in July. He met with them, but chose to re-sign with the Golden State Warriors for three years, $48 million. Iguodala spent the previous four seasons in Golden State, as he won two NBA championships (2015, 2017).

How close was Iguodala from a Warriors departure, though? Maybe more than some would think.

According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Spurs executives RC Buford, Brian Wright and Andy Birdsong met with Iguodala at 12:30 a.m. ET on July 1. Interest was there and they pitched how he and Kawhi Leonard could be forces on defense.

San Antonio offered Iguodala a four-year deal. Unlike the Warriors, they couldn’t top the double-digit salary he eventually received. The most they were able to offer was the $8.4 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception. Along with this, the organization mentioned a tech hub located 80 miles from San Antonio that’s researching a 15-minute speed rail from Austin to San Antonio. Haynes noted Iguodala’s interest in the tech industry.

The 33-year-old still considered the Spurs, despite the lower annual salary. The same went for the Houston Rockets.

The Spurs used that available exception on Rudy Gay, who signed for two years. Like Iguodala, Gay can play the forward positions, although he’s not as highly rated of a defender.

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Instead, the former Sixers draft pick will return to a team that has Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. It’s a group that will attempt a second consecutive NBA title, and the third in four years. A situation like that, along with the extra cash, makes it difficult to blame Iguodala for his decision to stay put. However, what if he chose to ride with the No. 2 team in the Western Conference from the 2016-17 season?