Andre Iguodala undecided on contract options

Andre Iguodala faces a big decision this summer which will have massive implications for the Denver Nuggets.

He can choose to complete the final year of his contract next season at the hefty salary of $16.2 million. Alternately, he can exercise his early termination option (ETO), becoming an unrestricted free agent and either working out a longer-term deal with the Nuggets or signing elsewhere.

For the time being, he appears to be keeping his options open, and waiting until after the season ends to focus on weighing them.

Paola Boivin of has reported in a special to the Denver Post that Iguodala has yet to make any decisions regarding using his ETO, re-signing with Denver or testing the open waters of free agency:

“Obviously, you’re talking to your agent and you’re paying attention to trades, and salary caps that are being opened up through sign and trades and other guys who are in the same position as you,” he said. “It’s in the back of your mind. But as far as making a concrete decision, you really don’t size it up until the season’s over, because we have some opportunities to do some really good things here.”

This is consistent with statements Iguodala made last January, when Christopher Dempsey interviewed him for the Post:

“A lot of players have done it where they’ve gave up a large bulk of their contract, say, giving up $16 million to get $60 million,” said Iguodala, who turns 29 years old on Monday.

“In the grand scheme of things that makes sense. But if you give up $16 million and you get $20 million (it doesn’t make sense). So it’s all about playing your cards right and seeing where you’re at. At the end of the day winning takes care of everything, so if we win here, then hopefully the organization and myself will come to an agreement and we’ll continue to build on what we have here.”

If Iguodala plays out the final year of his current contract, the Nuggets will have nearly $68 million in commited salary for the 2013-14 season. To put this into context, the current salary cap is set at $58.044 million, while the luxury tax is set at $70.307 million.

Even if those figures increased next season, Denver would not be left with very much wiggle room, especially cconsidering that in recent years the Kroenke family and the Nuggets front office have been stickers for staying under the luxury tax threshold.

In other words, it certainly appears that the best option for the Nuggets would be for Iguodala to opt out, and to renegotiate a new, longer contract at a reduced salary. So it’s very encouragng to see Iguodala openly acknowleding that course of action as one which might be in his own self interest as well.

If the two parties can’t work out such a deal, re-signing (or replacing) free agents Corey Brewer and Timofey Mozgov, signing any new free agents, or even clearing room for the salaries of new draft picks all become much trickier financially, presuming Denver wants to stay under the tax limit. It would more than likely necessitate some off season trades which cut enough salary to accommodate Denver’s new or re-signed players.

The third possibility, that Iguodala opts out but signs with a different team, appears unlikely. Both he and the Nuggets organization have repeatedly expressed a desire to make this a long term relationship.

But it would have to be considered a setback for Denver to lose a player and asset of his value without getting anything back. They would have more financial flexibility, but it would be extremely difficult to replace what Iguodala provides them through free agency.

Of course, Nuggets fans can, for now, just enjoy the great success their team has been having recently. This is not something to worry too much about just yet.

But come summertime, what happens with Iguodala’s contract will be the single most influential factor in shaping the moves the Nuggets can and will make from the offseason through the following year.

So we’ll be keeping it on our radar screen. And as always, keep checking back with Roundball Mining Company for your Denver Nuggets analysis, news and rumors.

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Joel is a long time Denver Nuggets (and Broncos) fan from Colorado who's been living in Japan since the mid-90s, and blogging about the Nuggets since 2008. You can contact and follow him on Twitter: @denbutsu.
  • bigelowsmalls

    i hate the business side of sports…

    I’d fill a roster spot for a cool 50K and stay with friends during away games.

    • bm12

      You might want to notify your employer that you’re willing to work for under minimum wage.

      People wanted to be paid as much as possible for their effort and contributions in any job. It’s a pretty basic concept.

      • mike

        analogy logical fallacy. offering to work under collective bargained minimum salary that is 20-30 times the median income in the US is not the same as offering to work for UNDER poverty inducing wages.

        Still the sentiment is correct that one shouldn’t expect anyone to take a significant pay cut below their earning potential. It rarely happens because it is usually stupid given the player (millionaire) is usually then giving charity to a billionaire.

        Iguodala is an interesting test case in how valued defense is. I would say he is worth about 9-12 million a year (but based on offense and assumed average defense he is worth 6-10 million per year) On the open market he is a possible max contract guy at 14.5. In this scenario though Iguodala probably values championships and playoffs given his age and that Denver is a familiar place helps too. Really the only team likely to have cap space and a clear path to a solid 50+ win team is Houston. Minnesota is a stretch, Atlanta if they added another all-star type player Iguodala, and Horford you could make a contention. Spurs aren’t really a great fit and probably don’t have max money.

        My guess is 4/48 if he goes to free agency and possible a team like PHX offers him 4/58 that he probably turns down. 4/40 would be a good deal for the nugs.

        • theo

          Just got a look at the thread. Like your stuff but no chance he’s a max contract guy on the open market. Who would pay him that kind of coin? Some GM’s are stupid but nobody is that dumb.

          I agree D is undervalued in the league but nobody is going to pay a great perimeter defender and all around stat stuffer max money unless he can also shoot.

          • mike

            eric gordon got a max contract offer this offseason despite coming off numerous significant injury seasons and not being as good as iguodala. And PHX has money again. I doubt he would take PHX even if his next highest offer is 11 million a year, but I would say it is at least 50/50 he gets a max offer. Detroit has a gap at that position and room. Portland has potential for room as well. Houston if they strike out on Dwight and depending on how much they like Josh smith. If atlanta gets Dwight they would likely have room and iguodala would be a good fit then.

            • Fraser

              Remember Iggy went to Arizona, so I think PHX could be the biggest threat if he listened to phone calls from around the league come FA period

  • Legalize Denver nuggets

    Igudala is quite a cerebral guy. I trust he is considering a multitude of factors. I hope our organization is supporting him without bogging him down at this point! From his quotes, everything appears to be where it should. How he stays will have implications for the immediate future of our roster, but hopefully the fact he is serious about trying to stay either way has bigger implications about our organization as a whole that other nba talent will take notice of.
    Thanks in advance for keeping us in the loop as this progresses!

  • Native Nugget

    Hoping we keep him! While he hasn’t found his offensive rhythm, he brings a veteran savvy, defensive skill-set and great team attitude. It would be very hard IMO to replace his defensive abilities and get a guy who will run the fast break with that level of athleticism.

    My hope is we get past the first round, take the next series to 7 games (or in a long shot we make conference finals) and Igloo re-ups with us (at a lower annual contract rate) after a taste of success. Like he said – “winning takes care of everything”.

  • buffalo soldier

    Masai will get it done at the right time just like Ty, Gallo, Javale, AAA, and Nene.

    AI is looking for 5years 60 mill in lieu of 16m but will probably end up at a little less on an extension. That will give us cap room to keep Corey.

    We do need to resign Masai.

  • AaronCAPS

    I honestly don’t care what happens to iggy. Not even a top 3 player on out team in my opinion.

    • kg

      maybe you haven’t noticed he consistently leads the team i assists? Or the fact that he is one of the most difficult players in the league to take one-on-one? Any one else on the team a defensive specialist that runs the floor and could start on almost any squad in the league?

      • thawk

        Ty Lawson – 7.1 APG
        Andr Miller – 5.8 APG
        Iguodala – 5.1 APG

        Very consistently leading the team in assists.

  • Tim Noblin

    Iggy will get somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 years/$60 mil. ($12 mil/season). I can’t really see him taking any less than that- I think on the open market he could make in the range of $13-$14 mil per season BUT seems to like Denver and might be willing to take a little less.

    I think the Nuggets better start fast in the offseason becase there will atleast be 3-5 teams who are hot after him.

    If he does take 5/60 then the Nuggets would be at about $62 million which would leave them about $8 mil for next season.

    That would leave them enough to sign Brewer if they wanted BUT word is that they also like Kyle Korver which would take out the Brewer equation.

    • CJP32

      Korver gets 5 million this year and plays 32 mpg, do you think he’s gonna take a pay cut to come to Denver and play around 20mpg?

      Brewer will be cheaper and is happy with his 23 mpg role, the style of play suits him and he likes it here.

      But if a team offers Brewer a better contract, I’m certain he will take it.

  • dynamo.joe

    I’m pretty much in line with what most people are saying here. 4yrs and between 48-54M, team option on a 5th yr. I think that would be pretty reasonable.

  • dynamo.joe

    I said I was going to evaluate the Front office using 5 man lineups. Then I forgot how I was planning on doing that. But here are partial GM grades based on talent collected, with no evaluation of how it fits system/coach/positional redundancy, etc.

    TM Sum WP48
    SAS 1.987 average 1.02
    OKC 1.629 stdev 0.40
    MIA 1.446
    MEM 1.391 a= 1.61 +
    NYK 1.384 b= 1.22 – 1.61
    UTH 1.384 c= 0.82 – 1.22
    IND 1.376 d= 0.42 – 0.82
    DEN 1.266 f= 0.42 –
    BOS 1.231
    HOU 1.202
    LAC 1.137
    CLE 1.126
    GSW 1.098
    MIN 1.064
    MIL 1.021
    DAL 1.014
    LAL 0.991
    PHI 0.983
    WAS 0.932
    TOR 0.911
    DET 0.857
    BRK 0.825
    NOR 0.802
    CHI 0.725
    ATL 0.718
    PHO 0.638
    SAC 0.588
    POR 0.409
    ORL 0.188
    CHA 0.183

    • dynamo.joe

      I only included players with more than 100 minutes. So Masai got zero credit for Stone/QMiller.

      Chicago got zero credit for Rose, etc.

    • Tom2

      If I were Iguodala, I would not opt out; that’s a heck of a lot of money for a defensive specialist, and I doubt any team would offer him as much. Whether or not he opts out, an extension is in order. I think a contract like McGee’s 4/44 makes sense. Iggy is almost 30, and most athletic players don’t age well; at the end of a 4-year contract he’ll be almost 34 and may not be that great anymore.

      One thing I never quite understood was why don’t teams with extra cap space front load their contracts? In other words, pay more at the beginning of the contract and less at the tail-end? If you have the cap space to afford paying more of it upfront, that will give you more cap flexibility later on. If I were a GM, I’d do my best to structure contracts in a way that fully utilized the cap each year (unless I was gambling on a big FA signing).

  • Paul

    regarding cap room:
    I feel like the FO is creative enough. My idea is maybe they signed McGee with the intent on trading him. Think about it, every player they signed (with the exception of lawson) who had big contracts, were traded (i.e. Afflalo, Nene).

    This leads me to the second point. If McGee could prove some fundamentals and that he is not a complete knucklehead, many teams, especially in the East, could use an extremely athletic big man. Especially one signed for 11 mil per year.

    This would allow them to bring back major assets such as draft picks, trade exceptions and young talent. It would also allow them to sustain a youth movement with talented players. And it would also allow them to get well below the luxury tax and resign vital guys like AI and CB.

    The FO has shown major creativity, maybe this is too out there but its an idea. Any thoughts?

    • Mitch

      They have so much flexibility with this roster it’s really hard to predict but I have a feeling that Koufos may be the one traded. His trade value is up but his ability ceiling is low. I love the way he plays but the FO might be thinking it’s a good time to sell high and they can go with Mozgov and McGee at center. Truly I don’t think there is a plan but rather a strategy of grabbing opportunities when they come up like Iguadola.

      • will

        Kosta Koufos is younger than McGee. Just cause he doesn’t make spectacular plays doesn’t mean his ceiling is low.

        • Mitch

          I like KK a lot but he’s below par physically which will limit his growth. Not that there aren’t some great players who weren’t the best athletes. I’d lobby Masai to keep him but Masai’s got a job to make the most out of what he’s got. He took a favorite of mine, Nene, and turned him into McGee and as much as I disliked that trade it seems to have worked out.

          The odds of trading KK are pretty low unless the right deal comes along and then he’s gone.

  • prospector

    Dump MILLER, MOZZY, and BREWER.. use roster spaces, for STONE, and two rookies… Thus forcing KARL’s hand in using Chandler & JHAM for Brewer’s role. STONE gives us a BIG player on the court when KARL goes to the dreaded 2 pg lineup.. Ty then gets the keys to the CAR, without having to defer to MILLER.. IGGY gets to handle the ball more like the scottie pippen that he patterns his game after… And I for one see our team improving leaps and bounds… MASAI will have to be strong on this one, cause KARL hates young players.. YO KARL YOUNG PLAYERS = MORE POTENTIAL UPSIDE SCRUB VETS = medicority….

  • prospector

    SO to sum it up PAY IGGY dump the mediocrity that wants to get paid and/or beg for big minutes.

  • will

    Too bad we overpaid McGee.

  • Z

    Iggy is gone after this season