Following the 2014-15 NBA season, the idea of Golden state Warriors point guard Stephen Curry departing Oakland at the end of his current contract was laughable. Curry had just ascended to the highest tier of the NBA, winning his first MVP and ring in the same season. The Warriors were set to be fun and dominant for years to come.
Entering the final season of his current four-year, $44 million deal, things look a little different for Curry. His team just suffered a historic collapse in the Finals after completing the greatest regular season of all-time. They made up for this, in some ways, by signing fellow MVP winner Kevin Durant away from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Signing arguably the second best player in the league should ensure the Warriors stay competitive and win multiple titles in the next few years, helping secure Curry’s loyalties for the future. But at the same time, it greatly increases the pressure on the team. If the Warriors fall short again, they could be saying goodbye to both Curry and Durant, who is also set to be a free agent at year’s end.
For now though, Curry is staying focused on the Warriors, as made clear by this excerpt from an interview he did after today’s practice.
Are you optimistic about your chances of coming back next offseason?
‘Yes,’ Curry said.
Do you expect the free agency questions to be a storyline when you go to opposing cities, Charlotte, other places?
‘I hope not,’ Curry said. ‘Because we’ll worry about that in the summer. My answer’s not going to be different all year.’
Kevin faced this a ton last year in almost every city he went. Are you gonna talk to him at all about that, how he handled it?
‘Maybe,’ Curry said. ‘But I’m not gonna let it distract me at all. I want to be back here. I like playing here. And that’s it. The rest of it is about what we’re gonna do this year.'”
This is encouraging for Warriors fans for sure. But you can also hunt down similar quotes from every superstar that has left their team before they left: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, even dating back to Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. All of them said they were coming back. All of them left.
All the Warriors have to do though is go out and win the NBA title. They’ve done it before, and as awful as last year’s ending was, the Warriors were only five points short of a second consecutive NBA title.
The interesting element in all of this is the looming presence of the Charlotte Hornets. They’re Curry’s hometown team, and the team his dad played for. That could certainly be a tempting offer for Curry if this season were to go awry. But then again, the same was said about Durant and the Washington Wizards, and we all know how that worked out.