Was Andre Iguodala a "mole" for the Golden State Warriors during their first-round series against the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs last year? George Karl has "no question" about it and briefly touched on the subject in an interview with Denver sportswriter Dave Krieger:
Q: Do you think Andre Iguodala was Mark Jackson's "mole"?
A: No question.
Q: Does that bug you?
A: I just think that's media hype. I mean, that series was not a physical series. Everybody wants to be more aggressive with the guy kicking your ass, so ...
Where does this all stem from? It seems likely this "mole" accusation originates from Mark Jackson accusing Karl of sending "hit men" to play Stephen Curry physical during the series. Iguodala didn't agree with the tactics and it's likely he expressed this to Jarrett Jack during Game 5, according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:
Iguodala probably said a few things to Jarrett Jack during Game 5 suggesting he wasn't pleased with some of the Denver tactics, as Iguodala admitted back in July, and Jack passed that along to Jackson.
That's my best read on what happened back then, and it all makes sense. Iguodala wasn't "a mole," but he respected the way the Warriors were playing and wasn't thrilled that his teammates were a little extra-tough on Curry.
And he wanted Jack and Jackson to know he didn't agree with it.
Iguodala telling members of the Warriors know he wasn't interested in playing "dirty" despite Karl instructing the team to do so lines up with this quote from Jackson during the playoffs as well:
"I got inside information that some people don't like that brand of basketball and they clearly didn't co-sign it," Jackson said. "They wanted to let me know they have no parts in what was taking place. Let the best team win. And let everybody, with the exception of going down with a freak injury, let everybody leave out of here healthy. That's not good basketball."
This all traces back to Karl telling his team he wants them to play Curry physical, Iguodala not agreeing with the tactic and passing it along to Jack, who then let Jackson know what was said to him. This is a little dicey and teeters on the "he said, she said" fence, but it's interesting nonetheless.
This has some added credence with Warriors' owner Joe Lacob telling Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle that Iguodala's cousin sat behind Golden State during the playoff series and went out of his way to indicate Iguodala "liked" the organization.
Whatever the case may be, this didn't affect Iguodala's on-court performance in the series. He averaged 18 points (50 percent from the field, 48 percent from beyond the arc), eight rebounds, 5.3 assists and two steals in Denver's six games against the Warriors. All of his playoff statistics were better than his regular season aside from averaging .1 assists fewer in the six-game series.
Iguodala opted out of his final year with the Nuggets to become an unrestricted free agent after being traded to the team over the summer. He would go on to sign with the Warriors for less annually than what he would have made if he stayed in Denver, but landed a multi-year deal with the organization.