Andre Iguodala debuted last night for the Miami Heat, in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Heat couldn’t go against the fired-up Damian Lillard and the home crowd, especially without Jimmy Butler. However, they didn’t grieve too much over this defeat, and neither did Iguodala.
The three-time NBA champion and once an NBA Finals MVP, was pretty happy actually. After a long time, he was able to get out on the court and play. His stint with the Memphis Grizzlies was not very pleasant, and after all the turmoils and problems he had in Tennessee, Iggy’s situation is now much better.
“I wanted to get a feel for where I was at. Honestly, I haven’t even played a pickup game or anything since the final,” Iguodala stated.
He posted two points, had 6 rebounds, three assists a steal and a block all that in 23 minutes on the floor. Miami’s head coach Erik Spoelstra stated that he didn’t want to see his newest addition playing that much, but that he simply had to let him feel the court.
I wasn’t planning on this,” Spoelstra said after the game. “He played about seven more minutes than I wanted him to play. We’ll evaluate him tomorrow.”
The 36-year old veteran has been away from the court since the Warriors lost to the Raptors in the Finals. The franchise from San Francisco made radical changes this summer, and among them was Iggy’s trade to Memphis in order for them to create space for D’Angelo Russell’s contract. Eventually, we’ve sent that Warriors made a huge mistake with D-Lo, and they too admitted that by trading him to Minnesota.
Meanwhile, Iguodala was refusing to play for the Grizzlies and wanted to get out of there asap. The franchise allowed him to sit out, but other players from the young core were pretty annoyed with the fact that the veteran avoided to help them in their playoff push.
In recent times we’ve seen several call-outs that targeted Iggy, and it appears that those just seeped up the process of his trade. He, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill were shipped in Miami, who departed Dion Waiters, James Johnson, and Justise Winslow.
The next game will have a special meaning for Iguodala, as his Heat travel to San Francisco to meet the Warriors. The athletic forward spent six years with the Dub Nation, becoming one of the legends of this franchise, and helping them become one of the most dominant generations in the history of basketball.
However, he isn’t feeling too emotional. With his experience, that is something he won’t allow himself happening.
“I’ve played a lot of basketball games in my career, so the emotional highs and lows I don’t have anymore. Everything is just another game,” he said.
Iggy also added that the time spent away from the court, made him realize how much he loves playing this game. He couldn’t experience that until now, and it only made him more thankful for another opportunity to get out there and enjoy it.
“Being away from the game makes you see how much you appreciate this game. The longer you are away, when you get out there again, you are excited with every possession, every opportunity to put your stamp on the game.
The game against the Warriors is scheduled for this Monday. the tip-off is at 10:30 pm ET.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.