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The Courtship of Andre Iguodala

Sure, we'd love to have Iggy back, but would he take us back?

I have missed you, Iggy.
I have missed you, Iggy.

Denver Nuggets forward Andre Iguodala is planning to opt out of his contract and test the free agent market. Considering that the Sixers right now are composed of Jrue Holiday, Thad Young and a pile of pumpkin innards, and with no superstar on the horizon, it might behoove them to complement their young, athletic starters with a versatile veteran, one who plays an exciting game and can contribute on both ends of the floor. That was the Nuggets' plan, anyway, and until Danilo Gallinari's knee and Stephen Curry's offensive game exploded, it looked like it might work. Would not a savvy general manager find a use for such a talent as Iggy?

I should hope so.

But would he come back here? Setting aside monetary considerations (every man has his price) and considerations of winning (probably more likely in another landing spot, at least for the time being), would Iguodala come back here? It's a situation that reminds me of a guy dating a girl who's too great for him, but eventually getting complacent and seeing only her flaws, getting bored and dumping her. They still run in a lot of the same circles, so after a year or two, they're both single and run into each other at a party and have a conversation like this:

Andre Iguodala: Hey, Philly fans. Good to see you. How's it going?

Fans: Iggy! You look great--how's Denver?

Iggy: Oh, thanks. You know, Denver was awesome for a year, but I'm testing the free agent waters--you know, trying to cash in, plus with Dano's knee and Ujiri and Karl gone, I'm not sure if that's the best situation anymore.

Fans (the rusty gears begin to turn crankily in his boozy, lusty head): Oh, that's too bad. Where are you looking?

Iggy: I'm not sure yet--things will settle down after the Finals and the draft when everyone has a coach hired. Maybe Cleveland or Dallas--could be pretty great to play with a legitimate scorer.

Fans: Oh, I bet. I bet.

Iggy: So how are things with you?

Fans: Well, you know, Bynum and I broke up--that didn't work out as well as I expected, and Doug Collins is gone, Evan Turner wasn't an adequate straight-up replacement for you, we collapsed near the end of the was just an all-around unpleasant experience.

Iggy: I'm sorry to hear that. Well, I should really be getting back to the party. It's great seeing you again.

Fans (doing that drunken squinting finger-wagging thing): We should get back together, Dre.

Iggy: Oh yeah?

Fans: Yeah. We were together so long and had so many great times. What do you say?

Iggy: I say you treated me like shit, dumped me for a 25-year-old with degenerative knees the instant you could and said you'd do it again even when he didn't play a game for you and submarined your season. I played killer defense, passed and rebounded well and, oh by the way, was a pretty good offensive player for you for eight years, and all you ever talked about was how I wasn't the end-of-game scorer you needed. Well of course I'm not, because hero ball is dumb. And anyone who makes his decisions based on what national sports columnists think about Kobe Bryant based on, you know, math and facts is probably going to call for dumping his team's best player for a kid who can't dance or bowl without hurting himself, let alone cut his hair like a fucking human being.

You know, Fans, I knew you'd come crawling back. I'm sorry I can't be the best player on a championship team, but I'm going to throw down some killer dunks and run the floor like I give a crap for 40 minutes and give you 15, 5 and 5 while playing persistent defense on your opponent's big, athletic, high-scoring small forward--you won't need to go through any of those to make the NBA Finals anytime soon, will you? Say, LeBron, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony? And you know what, if Dano doesn't blow out his knee and Steph Curry doesn't have the best two weeks of his life, maybe I do get closer to being the best player on a championship team. No, what you mean is that I'm not the one guy you can get, surround him with the last 14 guys available in fantasy draft mode in NBA 2K and expect to make the Finals. And you're right, I'm not--Iverson was, once. LeBron was. But you know what? Kobe wasn't that guy. Paul Pierce wasn't that guy. So shove it. I'm not Jordan. But I've been doing a pretty good Scottie Pippen impression for about a decade now and you never gave a crap. I made the Olympic team, you know, and they let me be the Swiss Army knife type of player, and do you know what happened?

Fans (sheepishly): You won the gold medal.

Iggy: I'm sorry, I can't hear you.

Fans: You won the gold medal!

Iggy: You're damn right I did. And when I was finally liberated from this team and its army of mouth-breathers, this stinking maw, this Pit of Carkoon of ignorance and wound up on Denver, who didn't take a top-10 pick, say "Well, that's the team" and go hit the casino for eight years and blame its best player for the ignorance and shortsightedness of its front office, you know what happened?

Fans: You won 57 games.

Iggy: YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT WE WON 57 GAMES! (Iggy throws his drink in Fans' face, picks up his jacket, and pats Fans on the shoulder as he walks past.) Wonderful seeing you again, Fans. Best of luck with Michael Carter-Williams.

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