OAKLAND — General manager Bob Myers is convinced the Warriors found the "missing piece of the puzzle" when they acquired forward Andre Iguodala in a three-team trade which was finalized this week.
The nine-year veteran is one of the NBA's top defenders, he finishes around the basket and his desire to join the team represents a new era of Warriors basketball.
"He said, 'look guys, I feel like this is a place I'd love to play,'" Myers said Thursday. "And that moment was a transformative moment for our franchise."
For years, NBA free agents scoffed at the idea of playing basketball in the Bay Area. But when Iguodala hit the market on July 1, he put the Warriors atop his wish list.
He liked the organization's vision under owner Joe Lacob, coach Mark Jackson's relationship with his players and the energy he felt at Oracle Arena during the playoffs as a member of the Denver Nuggets.
"They really are starting something big," Iguodala said.
Despite his interest, Myers said acquiring Iguodala was the most difficult front-office maneuver he's ever pulled off because it involved so many moving parts. He said the deal was "on life support 15 times."
"Andre wanted to come play for us and he was sitting out there and we just couldn't get it done — not for lack of effort," he said.
Before he could sign Iguodala to a four-year, $48 million deal, he needed to clear cap space, which meant moving center Andris Biedrins ($9 million), forward Richard Jefferson ($11 million) and forward Brandon Rush ($4 million) off the payroll. The Utah Jazz agreed to take them on in exchange for two future first-round picks (2014 and 2017) and two second-round picks (2016 and 2017) and they sent Randy Foye to the Nuggets, who also received a second-round pick from the Warriors (2018).
Myers said he worked a 16-hour day on the Fourth of July to make it all happen.
"I would walk into the house and I'd tell my wife ... 'this isn't happening. We can't get Iguodala — we can't do it, there's no way to do it,'" he said.
But they completed the deal on Wednesday and Myers said the two-time All-Star, who's averaged 15.1 points, 4.9 assists and 1.7 steals in 695 career regular-season games, brings a skill set that complements the pieces the team has in place.
"Should be a lot of 12, 11 and 11 nights," he said.
But the Warriors already had a talented small forward in Harrison Barnes and a skilled shooting guard with Klay Thompson, so somebody will be coming off the bench.
Myers said Jackson will decide who the sixth man will be in training camp.
"We have six starters," Myers said.