OAKLAND – Andre Iguodala is counting the last years of his career in the NBA. No need to count the days or weeks, because others have since, oh, about 2015.
"I'll be finished soon," he told NBC Sports Bay Area this week. "I could probably play five more years, but I'm probably going to get three more after this year – maybe three more.
"But if I'm not here, it will weigh heavily on what I'm going to do. I may have another year here – if we win. That's all. I know it. It's okay with me."
Perhaps? Recalling that he is under contract for the 2019-2020 season, with 17.2 million euros, the last year of the three year contract and worth $ 48 million. he signed in July 2017, Iguodala announced his decision.
"It's if we win," he said. "If not . . . "
Iguodala is in its 14th season in the NBA. He is the oldest warrior, two months of his 35 years. He is in his fifth season among starting players and in the third during which his minutes will be followed by the training staff. He reached the stage of the career when NBA players began to question their athletic mortality, asking questions that most would prefer to avoid.
How long can I do it? Do I still make an impact? Do talent evaluators believe in me? Does my team like me?
Warriors appreciate Iguodala. His intelligence and chameleon-like ability to adapt to the circumstances and devote his energies to what the team needs at this point in time lead him to lead Steve Kerr. His teammates marvel at the value of Iguodala beyond what is quantifiable. Do not look at the numbers, they say. Watch the game
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It is certainly true that no member of the Warriors is subject to more debate about its importance. Some think he's paid too much; his salary ranks fourth among players who opened the season as reservists. Others believe it's worth it as long as the championships keep coming.
"Perception can become a reality for people in a ranking position, like GMs," said Iguodala. "Sometimes perception is their reality, even when things are not going well. This could spoil anyone's perception of you, what he thinks of you as a player. They say, "Oh, it's over." It's really difficult. I do not really worry about that.
"But at the same time, it's one thing. I know it's there. But at this point, I know I'm still pretty good. I really believe it. But if people do not know it, I'll just say, "OK, I'm done playing."
It seems that Iguodala has something to prove – or think that it has something to prove – it's because it's its nature. He is an observer and a listener. He can not ignore the noise because he must be prepared for everything. While wanting to silence the skeptics, he realizes that leaving the character would upset the balance of the best team in the NBA since the Lakers Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
For warriors to flourish, they need that Iguodala deals with complex and obscure details, especially in the big moments.
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"It's all about this balance," he said. "Sometimes I have to be the guy who says," OK, we have to play the right way. "If that means that I have to let go of the blows to make sure all the others are in the right flow, have the right state of mind and contact with them, so be it – as long as I know that it will help us in the long run.
Iguodala started his last seven games, the first three in the lead and the last four in the small striker. Few players in the league are invited to take on these two tasks in a season, let alone in the same week. It's a task he accepts because, well, now it works.
He also knows that this is only temporary, that he could return to the bench when Stephen Curry will be back, probably this week, and that he will certainly regain his role in Sixth Man when Draymond Green will come back, probably next week.
"We will always have to find our comfort zone in different roles," said Iguodala. "Many guys from the second unit were very aggressive and we needed them. But to go back to the second unit, I will have to be aggressive. Being in the starting formation, I adapted it in return.
"It's a bit like I'm looking forward to returning to the second unit."
Why? Because it means that warriors as projected will be intact. Iguodala can resume his routine by stepping out of the bench to add the missing ingredient while wondering how many minutes he has before his career clock turns zero.