Nuggets forward Andre Iguodala wants to play for Team USA again, and is leaning toward opting out.
By CHRIS TOMASSON FS Florida
DENVER —Andre Iguodala is certain of one thing. He wants to represent Team USA again in both the World Cup and the Olympics.
The Denver forward is getting more sure about another thing: Opting out of his contract this summer and signing a long-term deal, possibly with the Nuggets or possibly somewhere else.
Iguodala won gold with Team USA in the 2010 World Cup in Turkey, when it was known as the World Championships, and in the Olympics last summer in London. When the Americans were coming off a 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing, none of the players on that team wanted to return for the World Cup.
But Iguodala wants to be involved with as much Team USA basketball as possible.
“I would really like to do both,’’ Iguodala said in an interview with FOX Sports Florida about the 2014 World Cup in Spain and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “I had a great time (with USA Basketball in previous events). It’s been one of the best basketball experiences of my life, just being around those guys, having fun and enjoying the game of basketball.’’
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo recently told FOX Sports Florida there are players from the 2012 Olympic team who want to compete in Spain, although he wouldn’t elaborate.
“I think he knows,’’ Iguodala said of Colangelo being aware of his interest. “He talks to my agent (Rob Pelinka), so I think he knows.’’
As for Iguodala’s NBA future, he doesn’t know where he’ll be playing. But Iguodala, a nine-year veteran who is averaging 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists and is Denver’s perimeter stopper, indicated it’s more likely now he will opt out of his contract by July 1 to sign a long-term deal.
Iguodala is on the books to make $15.9 million next season, likely more than he could get from any team for 2013-14. But he could become a free agent and then sign a multi-year deal that would pay less next season but would provide long-term security.
“Yeah, definitely,’’ Iguodala, 29, said of that being a distinct possibility. “You got to weigh options. Security-wise, a player would opt out, especially with the type of season we’ve had as a team. Teams know what I can bring to them, and I know (the Nuggets) know what I can bring to a team here.
“Players get like $50, $60 or $70 or $80 (million over multiple years), whatever the number was, they gave up a big number (in an option season by opting out). But in the grand scheme of things, pretty much get it back. You got security.’’
Iguodala said it’s no guarantee he would re-sign with Denver if he does the expected and opts out. But he has liked the progress the Nuggets (50-24) have made recently, which has included a 15-game winning streak that ended last Monday.
“My main goal is, if we win here, everything will take care of itself, no matter what,’’ Iguodala said. “I want to play for a team where I have an impact on the game without even scoring ... I feel like if I win (with the Nuggets), I won’t have to worry about having to prove my worth.
“Obviously, it’s a business, so you’re going to look at your options. Here we have some good (prospects). But I’m not making any promises. But I’ve liked the last month and a half, two months, three months or however long (that Denver has been on a roll). It’s important for the future, so I’m just trying to win.’’
So stay tuned to see which team Iguodala might be representing in a future USA Basketball event. And also what team he might finish it with.
Iguodala began the 2012 Olympics with the Philadelphia 76ers. Just before the semifinals, he was traded to the Nuggets.