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Warriors news: Andre Iguodala nearly did not re-sign with Warriors in free agency

Andre Iguodala was coming off the best three-year run of his professional career, playing in back-to-back-to-back NBA Finals and earning two championship rings and a Finals MVP in 2015 — but the toughest waters were yet to be treaded.

The Golden State Warriors’ sixth man had a decision on his hands as a free agent and at 33 years old, he was going to make the most of what could be his last big NBA payday.

Iguodala was represented by Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports, who left the agency shortly into the offseason to become the Los Angeles Lakers’ general manager, leaving co-founder Brandon Rosenthal as the one to take the baton.

The Warriors had initially thought of extending Iguodala a two-to-three year offer in the neighborhood of $8-to-$12 million, ultimately offering the max of each — three years for $36 million.

Unsatisfied with the offer, Iguodala’s agency lined up a list of suitors with the pockets necessary to make him a hefty offer — securing face-to-face meetings with the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, and his old team, the Philadelphia 76ers.

However, the Swiss army knife gave the team one last chance to up their offer before departing on his free agency tour. President Bob Myers mustered one last offer of three years, $42 million with a partial guarantee on the third year (per ESPN’s Chris Haynes) after getting permission from owner Joe Lacob, who’d be ultimately footing the bill.

After hearing the offer, Iguodala informed the Warriors he’d go in a different direction.

Only a minute into the start of free agency, the Lakers were quick to get on the line with Iguodala, using a star-studded cast of his former agent Pelinka, former teammate-then-coach Luke Walton, and new president Magic Johnson. While their odds were long, Iguodala remained noncommittal after receiving a one-year balloon offer of $20 million to secure leadership for their prized rookie Lonzo Ball and a young roster.

The Spurs and Kings expressed deep interest in Iguodala, but it was the Rockets who blew him away, darting sign-and-trade scenarios on the fly to make a deal work. At one point, Rockets star James Harden called general manager Daryl Morey, who was willing to pick-up mid-presentation. Harden apologized for the interruption and personally to Iguodala when he was handed the phone. Minutes later, a newly-signed Chris Paul took over the presentation and stated what it was that made him join Houston in free agency.

Iguodala was impressed.

Having called off the rest of his meetings, the Warriors were granted one last meeting out of respect, one that Iguodala planned to be a goodbye meeting at his own presidential suite, which was full of souvenirs from his trip to Houston. Myers brought head coach Steve Kerr, prepared to make an improved three-year, $45 million fully-guaranteed offer.

Golden State had reached out to Rudy Gay and Gerald Henderson as contingency plans after being kept in the dark for nearly a whole day. Iguodala was hellbent on his asking price of $16 million a year and the meeting was over an hour later, with an imminent goodbye all but written in stone.

Iguodala was firm through his approach and after making one last call through his agent, Myers said he would ask ownership for the extra $3 million, only to call back 20 minutes later and say, “I got it.”

The Arizona product never wanted to leave Golden State, but knocked on every door, making his market price evident, and leaving no choice for the Warriors organization but to open the checkbook after earning only a $12 million annual figure during his last four years in the Bay Area.

“I’ve said it before,” Kerr said. “Andre should become an agent when he retires. He was prepared.”

Only a few hours later, the Warriors’ swingman had formally agreed to a three-year, $48 million deal to return to the team.