Iguodala Plans to Opt Out of Contract

On Monday, the Nuggets 15 game winning streak came to an end in New Orleans, now Andre Iguodala’s tenure in Denver may be on its last legs.

The 2012 All-Star forward announced he plans to opt out of his contract, a deal that would pay him $16.1 million next season, in pursuit of a long-term contract.

Despite a 50-24 record, the Nuggets had no representatives at last month’s All-Star Game in Houston.

Denver’s success has been predicated on continuous slashing to the basket, capitalizing on fast break opportunities and team play.

Six different players are averaging 11.7 or more points per game, but no one on the roster is averaging 17 points.

Last summer, the Nuggets were part of a four-team trade and sent Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington to Orlando as Dwight Howard was sent to the Lakers and Andrew Bynum to landed in Philadelphia.

The deal was completed as Iguodala was representing Team USA at the Summer Olympics in London.

He was nominated to the team for his elite perimeter defense and his ability as a finisher on the fast break.

Andre Iguodala is averaging 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game during his first season in Denver.

Those same characteristics have been amplified in Denver and his ability to blend in with a team lacking a true superstar has helped the team become one of the most dangerous teams in the Western Conference.

The Nuggets are averaging 19.6 fast break points per game, the highest average in the league and their 105.6 points per game only trails Houston and Oklahoma City.

Since the team is so unpredictable, five different players led the team in scoring during their 15 game winning streak, the Nuggets are becoming true title contenders.

Denver has a 32-3 record at the Pepsi Center, the home loss total has only been equaled by the Heat and the team has won 50 or more games for the fifth times in eight seasons under coach George Karl.

Aside from a hip injury that sidelined Wilson Chandler for two months at the beginning of the season, the Nuggets have been healthy throughout the season.

The top eight players in the rotation have all made at least 69 appearances in 74 games this year.

Point guard Ty Lawson is listed as day-to-day after suffering a plantar fascia tear in his right heel and while the injury doesn’t require surgery, he could miss significant time.

Lawson missed Friday’s game against Brooklyn, but Iguodala adapted his game to become a facilitator, dishing out a team-high nine assists during a 109-87 victory.

Iguodala, a 6-foot-6 swingman, has the ability to morph into any style of player his team needs has made him a commodity throughout the league.

Andre Iguodala won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Philadelphia selected Iguodala, a star forward in college at Arizona, with the ninth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft hoping to pair him in the back court with Allen Iverson.

Two years later, the 76ers sent Iverson to Denver in exchange for Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two future draft picks.

Philadelphia turned the franchise over to Iguodala and he responded by increasing his scoring average to 18.2 points per game during his third season in the league.

During the 2007-08 season, Iguodala averaged a career-high 19.9 points per game and the 76ers rewarded him with a six-year $80 million contract extension.

While Iguodala was leading the team in scoring, it didn’t translate into team success. After his career year in 2007-08, he willingly took a lesser role in the offense for the benefit of the team.

The continual sacrifice paid off, after seeing his scoring average decrease for the fifth straight season, Iguodala was rewarded with his first career All-Star selection.

When the announcement was made, he averaged 13 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.8 steals.

While in Denver, the 29-year-old is shooting less than he has been accustomed two, attempting nearly one fewer shot per game than his career average, but has found other ways to make an impact for the team.

Denver ranks third in the league in assists per game, averaging 24.2, and Iguodala is one of three players on the team averaging at least five per game this year.

The addition of Iguodala last summer has helped Denver become a true contender.

Now the Nuggets first move this summer will be finding a way to retain his services.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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