Would Stephen Curry leave the Warriors just one season removed from 73 regular season wins and two seasons removed from a championship? Apparently one team is confident in their ability to poach him away from the Warriors.
Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report is reporting that a contending team is already planning an aggressive strategy to sign Curry when he becomes a free agent next offseason.
They’re basing their approach on speculation that chemistry issues between Curry and newly acquired superstar Kevin Durant will convince Curry to leave the Warriors.
The team would then lure Curry with promises of being able to take the “last shot” and be “the guy” on this new team.
My first instinct is to totally dismiss this story due to its implausibility. Those around the league may be inclined to embrace this rumor because it wouldn’t be unprecedented for a superstar to leave via free agency from a team that they were seemingly going to spend the rest of their career with.
Shaquille O’Neal left the Magic despite the team having a point guard in Penny Hardaway who was one of the premier players in the league.
LeBron James left his hometown Cavaliers to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach.
Durant just left the Thunder after most people within the basketball community expected him to re-sign for the foreseeable future.
There’s a common denominator with those guys that Curry doesn’t possess, though: those guys hadn’t won a championship with their previous franchise.
They left to chase rings, whereas Curry already has a championship under his belt. Also, if he wants more championships, there doesn’t appear to be a team more equipped to continue winning into the future.
What reason would Curry have for leaving the Warriors? He likes the area, enjoys winning, and clearly isn’t the type of egomaniac to clash with another superstar, considering that he heavily recruited Durant.
Plus he already plays with two fellow superstars in Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Thompson may be more mild mannered on the court, but why would Curry have issues with Durant when there haven’t been any issues with Green?
That’s not to say that Green isn’t a great teammate. He is, but nobody can deny that he has the type of volatile personality that is far more likely to grate on another player than Durant.
A team hoping for chemistry issues with a group of such selfless superstars on the court is extremely wishful thinking.
Bucher didn’t say what team it was, just that they were a contender. I’m scrolling through the list of teams in the league looking for a club that’s objectively a contender without a franchise point guard currently on the roster.
The teams that jump out immediately to me are the San Antonio Spurs and the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks won 48 games last year, while the Spurs won 67. Each squad has uncertain point guard situations.
The Spurs aren’t set at the position. Tony Parker has two more years on his contract, but he’s 34 years old and starting to decline. The other point guards on their roster are Patty Mills, Dejounte Murray, and Ryan Arcidiacono. Both Murray and Arcidiacono are rookies, and Mills becomes an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
The Hawks also have question marks. Dennis Schroder has never started more than 10 games in a season, and he’s also a restricted free agent next offseason. Malcolm Delany is a rookie and didn’t get drafted after leaving Virginia Tech in 2011. Jarrett Jack is an unrestricted free agent next offseason. They don’t have a secure option going forward.
One of these two are likely the “contender” that Bucher is referring to. The Hawks can always say that they have the luxury of competing in a weaker Eastern Conference. They can also offer Curry two marquee front court players in Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap, although Millsap has a player option for 2017-2018.
That’s nowhere near the supporting cast that the Warriors can offer Curry, though. Bolting to Atlanta wouldn’t make much sense from a competitive standpoint.
San Antonio is intriguing, though. Gregg Popovich is arguably the best coach in the NBA currently, and they have the type of selfless, team-first atmosphere that would really appeal to a guy like Curry. Plus they have a culture of winning that is nearly unmatched in the league.
The retirement of Tim Duncan along with the inevitable departures of Parker and Manu Ginobili are forcing the Spurs to start a new chapter in their history, and the addition of Stephen Curry would really ease some of their anxiety going forward.
Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge are 2 of the top 15 players in the league right now. Adding Curry would make them probably the best trio in the NBA. Durant, Green, and Thompson might not even be able to top that.
Although I don’t see Curry leaving the Warriors, the very idea of him joining the Spurs is absolutely terrifying.
The Durant signing significantly shifted the power balance in the Western Conference, and Curry leaving for San Antonio would arguably be even more seismic and unexpected.
He’s not chasing an elusive first ring, so the type of urgency that inflicted O’Neal, James, and Durant isn’t present in Curry.
The front office has clearly put winning as a major priority, and have surrounded him with possibly the best supporting cast that an MVP winner has ever had.
The “contender” hoping to sign Curry away from the Warriors is relying on variables that don’t seem very likely.
Curry and Durant played together on the USA team that won the 2010 FIBA World Championship. There’s no way Durant would have decided to sign with the Warriors this offseason if he felt any type of tension towards Curry at all.
Curry will almost certainly remain with the Warriors past next season. This “contending” team had best not get their hopes up about acquiring him.