When Andre Iguodala was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Denver Nuggets in the blockbuster deal involving Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum during the London Olympics, the high-flying forward sought out American teammate Carmelo Anthony, who opened his career in Denver under coach George Karl.
And Anthony gave him the words that helped Iguodala say he’d like to spend and extended period with the Nuggets.
“He said I would be a perfect fit for Coach Karl. We two would really gel together,” Iguodala recounted.
Iguodala knows Melo and Karl had their moments, both good and bad, together.
“It’s the nature of basketball sometimes, every player and coach are going to have run-ins. George Karl made him a better player and Melo made him a better coach,” Iguodala said. “He had nothing but good things to say about Coach Karl. Seattle was my favorite team growing up so I know a little bit about Coach Karl and his history. He’s one of the best coaches in the game, well-respected by much of his peers and much of his players.”
And so, the all-star forward who helped the U.S. win the gold medal in the London Games said “We weren’t coming into this thinking this will be a one-year deal. This is definitely a place that I can see myself for more than just a year or two.”
That was comforting for Denver general manager Masai Ujiri, who said he’ll work on an extension this upcoming season. Iguodala is in the last year of his current deal.
Sixers coach Doug Collins had high praise for Iguodala this week.
“The thing I’m happy about for Dre is he went through a lot in this city, about living up to his contract,” Sixer coach Doug Collins said. “All I know is the last two years, he ends up as a world champion, a gold medalist, an All-Star, a second-team all-league defender.
“And what a great thing it was for him to walk to the line against Chicago [in the playoffs] and make two free throws to put us into the next round. I’m so happy those great things happened for him. He made me a better coach and I hope along the way I helped him a little bit.”