The Golden State Warriors were at the top of Andre Iguodala's destination list going into free agency, but the team didn't have a clear path to the versatile forward. The Warriors and Iguodala discussed the frantic process leading up to Golden State clearing the necessary cap space to to offer him a contract, according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle:
"There were 25 moments of panic," said (Warriors general manager Bob) Myers, who was still unshaved and admittedly exhausted. "... This thing was on life support 15 times."
"It was a very unlikely scenario that actually played out for us."
The challenge for the Warriors was finding a way to dump roughly $20 million in salary while taking minimal contracts back. Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins both accepted player options for a combined $20 million and were at the bottom of the Warriors' rotations if at all through the year.
Golden State had open discussions with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz as they sought after a deal to clear the way for Iguodala. Iguodala met with the Warriors on July 1 and expressed his desire to become a Warrior, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:
"It was kind of hectic," Iguodala said. "Everyone is supposed to wine and dine you, and all of this money is supposed to be thrown at you, so you'd think it would be easy. But perseverance was kind of the key word for this whole process."
Iguodala was an hour away from signing a deal with Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks as the Warriors had not made progress on their salary situation.
The Jazz finally struck a deal with Golden State, as Utah accepted the expiring contracts of Jefferson, Biedrins and Brandon Rush in exchange for two first-round draft picks and two second-round draft picks.
Iguodala turned down a four-year, $52 million contract with the Sacramento Kings, a $60 million five-year deal with the Nuggets, and a "lucrative" deal with the Mavericks. The Warriors were able to land Iguodala at a discount in comparison with a four-year, $48 million contract.
Golden State persevered, found the trade they needed, and landed a player who was chomping at the bit to join the young nucleus being guided by Mark Jackson. They flipped two players who served as the end of their depth chart along with a player who missed the entire 2012-2013 season with an ACL injury into cap space to land an elite, versatile player.
It came at the cost of a handful of draft picks -- one of the first-round picks being in the coveted 2014 NBA Draft -- but with Andre Iguodala on board the Warriors aren't concerned about mining the draft for the young assets they need to create a core. Instead, they'll add Iguodala to the core of Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
With the core intact, they'll look to build on their Western Conference Semifinals appearance.