NBA Free Agency is an exciting, and nervous, time for fans everywhere. We look forward to seeing what new players their team will add, while hoping that they don’t lose any major pieces of their core. The same feelings can be attributed to free agents during this period. The millions of dollars being thrown at these players may say otherwise, but free agents often have to make a decision while contemplating more than just how many years are being offered and how many millions their bank account is going to receive. In this past week, two notable NBA players, Andre Iguodala and Kyle Lowry, placed other factors over money when making their decisions to re-sign with their respective teams.
Multiple teams were interested in stealing Iguodala, the Golden State Warriors’ sixth man, away from the NBA Champions. After meeting with the Warriors, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and subsequently cancelling his remaining meetings, it seemed like the Warriors were possibly going to lose a pivotal member of their championship roster. However, Iguodala put all of that uncertainty to rest later in the day, agreeing to a reported 3-year, $48 million contract with the Warriors, and confirming it on social media.
Sources close to Andre Iguodala reporting agreed to terms to return to the bay….
— Andre Iguodala (@andre) July 2, 2017
While an average of $16 million over the next three years was obviously very enticing, Iguodala later revealed that something else played a bigger part in his decision. In an appearance on NBA TV on June 2, he told the crew that the possibility of leaving the Bay Area brought his 10-year-old son to tears.
“The guy sitting across from me. My son’s playing Madden,” Iguodala said. “I told him I had some options, I had some teams I was looking at. And I said we might be leaving. And he started crying.”
Iguodala’s son’s reaction is very understandable. Kids, like athletes, enjoy the feeling of stability and it makes sense that his son didn’t want to leave an area that he and Iguodala have come to call home over the last four years. In the case of Iguodala, a father of two, family comes first when making a life-changing decision like this.
When free agency opened, it appeared that Lowry could depart from the Toronto Raptors, the team he has played for over the last five years. After much speculation, the three-time All Star re-signed with the Raptors on a 3-year, $100 million deal, according to ESPN. Lowry announced his decision to stay via The Players’ Tribune.
— Kyle Lowry (@Klow7) July 2, 2017
In the piece, titled “Home,” Lowry explained how the connection he has built with the city of Toronto was too strong for him to go elsewhere.
“I’m coming back to Toronto because my heart is telling me that it’s home — and because staying home, for me and my family, feels like the right thing to do,” Lowry wrote.
He also revealed that he knew he made the right decision after telling his oldest son that he was re-signing with the Raptors.
“When I saw Karter’s reaction, that’s how I knew for sure this was right,” Lowry wrote. “I could tell right away, just from the look on his face. I could tell that if we’d left … for him, it wouldn’t have just been about moving, you know, from any one place to another. It would have been a lot tougher than that. It would have been about truly leaving — leaving his friends, leaving his school, leaving this city that he’s grown attached to. We would have been leaving a place that is really just … you know, it’s part of our family now. We’d have been leaving home.”
Players are often ridiculed for taking the biggest contracts and running to the team that dishes out the most money, placing financial gains over playing for a competitor. While they shouldn’t be criticized for that rationale, in the case of many players, family, as well the relationship that they have built with a city and organization, take more importance in their free agency decision than anything else.