OAKLAND -- Patrick McCaw has played three NBA seasons. He has three NBA titles.
The 23-year old shooting guard has two with the Golden State Warriors, and now one against them.
He easily could’ve been on the losing end of Toronto’s 114-110 victory on Thursday night at Oracle Arena. Instead, McCaw donned goggles to keep champagne from his eyes.
This was a good night, not a Game 6 heartbreaker, a rare high note in a stressful season where McCaw made headlines for odd reasons.
“This year has been a roller coaster,” McCaw told NBC Sports Bay Area in the champagne-soaked visitor’s locker room. “Now, to be here at this moment, facing my former team, my teammates and friends, it’s great, man. It’s just great.”
We all know by now why these Warriors are McCaw’s former teammates.
The CliffsNotes version: McCaw seemed set to play a third season with Golden State, but business got messy. He refused to sign a qualifying offer sheet that made him a restricted free agent and held out into the season. He eventually signed a funky, above-market, yet non-guaranteed contract with Cleveland that the Warriors were never going to match. The Cavs waived him quickly -- the whole ordeal prompted an NBA investigation -- making him an unrestricted free agent able to go anywhere. He chose Toronto, and joined the Raptors on a one-year minimum contract.
He rode the title wave all the way in, securing a third ring by beating the Warriors.
He played just six minutes and one second in these NBA Finals, yet this championship was still gratifying in its own unique way.
“That’s how I look at it. This is a super big bonus,” McCaw said. “To go against this Golden State Warriors team -- they had injuries slow them down a little bit -- to compete against them and win a championship is such a bonus after how this year went for me. Now it’s about getting back to playing again, and focusing on what I need to do to get better.”
McCaw is excited to put this drama-filled season to rest.
“It’s definitely a weight (lifted),” McCaw said. “This will be a fresh start. I can get back to work on the things I need to work on and get ready for next season. Who knows what lies ahead as far as where I’ll be and who I’ll play with, but, as long as I’m making the right steps for me. It’ll be great.”
He largely remained silent about his season of awkward transition, and is finally ready to turn the page toward a new chapter in his career.
“I’m in such a better place mentally and physically,” McCaw said. “I’m going to get prepared for next season. I’m looking to starting over and starting fresh and rebuilding my name.”
He knows that NBA titles don’t come each season, but he sure has enjoyed this run of big victories since turning pro.
“It isn’t supposed to be like this every year,” McCaw said with a smile, “but this is all I really know.”