Warriors

Could Warriors' Steph Curry leave Under Armour amid company's downturn?

Could Warriors' Steph Curry leave Under Armour amid company's downturn?

Warriors superstar Steph Curry has been with Under Armour since 2013, and his current contract -- which runs through 2024 -- is worth a reported $20 million annually.

But could the three-time NBA champion leave the apparel company in the not-so-distant future?

Under Armour is hurting financially, and its economic issues started before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

As Lorraine Mirabella of The Baltimore Sun wrote Tuesday:

The Baltimore-based brand saw its sales plummet 23 percent in the first quarter and reported a loss of $590 million as most of its stores around the globe have remained closed since mid-March.

After financial results were released Monday, analysts asked executives how they are trimming expenses. Robert Drbul, an analyst with Guggenheim Securities LLC, asked during a teleconference whether endorsement contracts allow for renegotiating payments to athletes.

“We’ve been negotiating and working with them, and we’ve been able to get some extended payment terms there, which are helpful just in general with our overall capital preservation efforts,” said David Bergman, Under Armour’s chief financial officer.

It's unclear exactly where things stand with Steph specifically.

But his relationship with Under Armour has had some very rocky moments over the last three years.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

In February 2017, CEO Kevin Plank (who stepped down late last year) praised Donald Trump by saying: "To have such a pro-business President is something that is a real asset for the country -- people can really grab that opportunity."

Curry responded by telling The Athletic's Marcus Thompson (who was at The Bay Area News Group at the time): "I agree with that description. If you remove the 'et' from 'asset.' "

And as Julie Creswell and Kevin Draper of The New York Times wrote back in late January:

In the summer of 2018, two top Under Armour executives traveled to the West Coast on a critical mission. Kevin Plank, the sports apparel company’s founder and chief executive, and Patrik Frisk, its president and chief operating officer, needed to persuade Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors star and the company’s highest-profile endorser, not to leave the brand.

Mr. Plank was unhappy that Mr. Curry, whose endorsement deal pays him millions of dollars a year, would rarely wear Under Armour clothing to N.B.A. games. Mr. Curry was upset that sales of the signature Curry 3 shoe had been weak.

At the meeting, participants found a solution that would showcase just how much Mr. Curry meant to the company. Mr. Plank and Mr. Frisk agreed to build a separate business around him, one reminiscent of what Nike had done for Michael Jordan two decades before. The company brought on the former executive who had overseen the creation of the Jordan brand at Nike to run the Curry brand and promised Mr. Curry much more involvement in the development of his shoes. Mr. Curry decided to remain, and a crisis was averted.

[RELATED: There's an 'elephant in the room' facing Steph, NBA players]

In September 2015, Under Armour’s stock peaked at around $52.

On Wednesday, the stock price closed at $6.93.

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Draymond Green has been on Gary Trent Jr. bandwagon longer than you

Draymond Green has been on Gary Trent Jr. bandwagon longer than you

Warriors star Draymond Green wants you to know he was on the Gary Trent Jr. bandwagon before he became one of the restarted NBA season's breakout stars.

The Portland Trail Blazers guard entered Thursday shooting an impressive 52.6 percent from the field and an unconscious 52.6 percent from 3-point range. He didn't hit those heights in the Blazers' 134-133 win over the Brooklyn Nets, but they never trailed again after Trent Jr.'s fourth 3-pointer of the night gave them a 130-128 lead with 2:29 to go in regulation.

Porland's win locked up its spot in the play-in game(s) for the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot, and Green loved what he saw from Trent Jr. down the stretch.

Green has been a fan of Trent Jr. for (at least) a few months.

Back on March 6, Green tweeted his appreciation for the guard on the night Trent Jr. flashed his defensive chops guarding Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker.

[RELATED: Haberstroh believes Wiggins' game 'will rise' if not traded]

Green's praise of Trent Jr. should cost a whole lot less than the $50,000 tampering fine he laughed off stemming from praising Booker on an "Inside the NBA" appearance. That praise also involved a plea to "get my man out of Phoenix," of course, and the NBA didn't take too kindly to Green's suggestion.

Some good, old-fashioned Twitter tire-pumping won't make Green's pockets lighter, and it has the added bonus of bolstering his basketball hipster credentials by saying he was on the Trent Jr. train before everyone else.

Really, it's a win-win for everyone involved.

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Why Tom Haberstroh changed mind on Andrew Wiggins' fit with Warriors

Why Tom Haberstroh changed mind on Andrew Wiggins' fit with Warriors

He originally questioned the Warriors' trade for Andrew Wiggins, but NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh is starting to come around.

"I'll admit it, I didn't see Andrew Wiggins being a very good fit next to the other big three," Haberstroh told NBC Sports Bay Area, "basically because I think they need more defense and Andrew Wiggins hasn't shown consistent defense in his NBA career. He has played a little bit better in Golden State, and certainly when he's surrounded by more talent, I think his game will rise to the level that they need him to play.

"He has shot a little bit better from downtown. He's not a knockdown 3-point shooter yet. His numbers did tick up a little bit in a Golden State uniform, but really the best fit is just positionally. They needed a three."

Wiggins, 25, averaged 19.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists on 45.7 percent shooting from the field and 33.9 percent from 3-point range in 12 games with the Warriors after being acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves in early February. Within those 12 games, he registered five blocks in one contest and four steals in another, hinting at his defensive potential.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Very little of that production came alongside Steph Curry and/or Draymond Green, and none of it came alongside Klay Thompson. Wiggins should have the benefit of playing with all three whenever next season begins. He'll be the third or fourth option on offense, and should be able to take advantage of the best spacing he'll have ever experienced at the professional level.

That is, if he's still on the Warriors.

"Andrew Wiggins, to me, is a solid option at the three position," Haberstroh continued, "but I think they'll be interested to see what they can get in the trade market if they do get the top No. 1 overall pick -- just to see what they can find on the market to upgrade at the veteran position. Because Andrew Wiggins has been to the playoffs, but he's not a guy who has been championship tested, and he certainly hasn't been at All-Star caliber level. So maybe they can get that with the addition of that No. 1 overall pick if they get it.

"Andrew Wiggins -- he's a high-upside player, a guy with a lot of athleticism. But to me, he has not fulfilled on that promise. Maybe he will in Steve Kerr's system."

[RELATED: Lacob says Dubs focused on 'couple guys' if they win lottery]

The Warriors will find out exactly where their first-round pick falls when the NBA Draft Lottery is held on Aug. 20. It is guaranteed to be a top-five selection, but obviously the higher the pick is, the more value it will have.

Golden State at full strength arguably presents the best situation yet for Wiggins to live up to his potential, but it's possible we'll never get to find out.