Heading into unpredictable free agency, Myers hopes to retain Warriors' core

Heading into unpredictable free agency, Myers hopes to retain Warriors' core

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant say they plan to be Warriors next season and beyond, both implying they are willing to offer the team financial flexibility to help retain the nucleus of the team that last week won the NBA Finals.

Durant on Monday reiterated his stance, according to ESPN, which reported the 6-foot-9 forward has decided to exercise the opt-out clause in his current contract to re-sign a short-term deal that would be at least $3.5 million less than the maximum.

Such a move would increase the chances of the Warriors keeping intact the core of the team by providing greater latitude to negotiate with upcoming free agents Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

The team’s core, in this instance, is composed of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Curry, Durant, Iguodala and Livingston.

Hearing the team’s superstars indicate they will prioritize continuity over the chance to earn every possible dollar may at least partially mitigate the task awaiting president/general manager Bob Myers.

“Any statement by any player expressing the fact that they like playing for our team and want to keep playing for our team is a positive,” he said Monday. “That’s certainly what you want. Those are all good things.”

Myers said the franchise hopes to do its part to make itself inviting to players, something it has succeeded in doing since Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the team in November 2010.

It’s Lacob and Guber who will have the final say on whether team is able to retain all six members of the core.

“They’re going to be paying the luxury tax, so it’s just a matter of how much,” said one NBA front office executive. “They’ve not been making decisions based on cost, on saving money, so it’s possible they’ll do what it takes.

“It comes down to this: How much are they willing to pay out?”

Durant can opt out on June 29, and free agency opens July 1. By opting out, Durant would still get a 20 percent salary bump, to roughly $31.8 million, and the Warriors would not have to renounce Iguodala and Livingston, and would have Bird Rights to both veterans, giving them an advantage in re-signing both without a prohibitive penalty.

As for Curry, his salary won’t have any impact because all others will be in the fold before he gets the five-year “Super Max,” worth roughly $205 million.

This is the scenario the Warriors have visualized ever since signing Durant last July, and it would allow them to make more competitive offers to Iguodala and Livingston, both of whom will be highly coveted once they hit the market.

Consider this: Jamal Crawford last July signed a three-year contract worth $42 million to remain with the Clippers. This is pertinent because Crawford was, at age 36, still considered a valuable reserve on a winning team.

It’s the same with Iguodala, 33, and Livingston, 31, who have been core members of a team that with two championships and three straight trips to the NBA Finals has accomplished infinitely more than the Clippers.

What might Iguodala, who made $11 million last season, be worth? Start at around $14 million, even though his minutes must be monitored. The Warriors would have to entertain something close to that, and Iguodala would be flexible within reason.

“I don’t know,” Myers said. “Free agency is predictably unpredictable. We love Andre and, hopefully, we can find a way to make it work for not just him but for all of our guys.”

As someone whose minutes also must be monitored, Livingston still may command twice the $5.5 million he averaged in three seasons with the Warriors. They’d wince at a $10 million salary, but they wouldn’t dismiss it outright. Livingston, too, would be flexible. He purchased a home here, his daughter was born here and he hopes to live in it for years to come.

Understand, Iguodala and Livingston want to remain with the Warriors, and if all things are equal -- or close to equal -- and they feel valued, they likely would return.

Though Iguodala’s desire is to remain with the Warriors -- he was clear about this in several late-season conversations with NBCSportsBayArea.com -- he also conceded there were conditions that needed to be met for him to return to the Warriors.

Contract length also is a factor Iguodala and Livingston. Both want and have earned multiple years.

“We all would love to keep the group together,” Livingston said last week. “We’ve seen what we’re able to accomplish together. We’ll see what happens when that time comes. There’s obviously a domino effect.”

The first domino is Durant. Following that is Iguodala and Livingston, one or both. Following that, it’s time to pay Curry, after which the Warriors would regroup and figure out how to spend what remains, with the bulk of it going to those who can play center.

“We still feel like it’s an important position, but we just have a lot of money in other positions,” Myers said.

Durant is prepared to do his part.

“It would be a special team, special group,” he said last week. “It’s a business in basketball, obviously, so nothing is for sure.

“But, here, I feel like we can work that out and everybody will have a chance to do this again next year. It’s easier said than done, obviously, but that’s the goal. We want to keep this thing together and see how we can continue to keep getting better.”

Steph Curry, daughters soak in Sabrina Ionescu’s latest triple-double

Steph Curry, daughters soak in Sabrina Ionescu’s latest triple-double

Steph Curry has followed Sabrina Ionescu since her junior year of high school in Orinda. So naturally, when the University of Oregon basketball star returned to the Bay for the final time in her collegiate career Friday night, the Warriors star went to Haas Pavilion to watch her and the Ducks face the Cal Bears.

After Ionescu registered her seventh of the season and the 25th triple-double of her career in Oregon's 93-61 win, GOAT met GOAT, along with two special guests -- Curry's daughters, Riley and Ryan.

Curry clearly is a fan of Ionescu, who dropped 17 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Berkeley. She is nine rebounds away from becoming college basketball’s first 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound, 1,000-assist player.

"Everything," Curry told Pac-12 Network's Kate Scott when asked what has impressed him about Ionescu since he first learned of her. "It's hard to pick one thing. Just her passion for the game, her leadership. She has got that winning mentality, and every night, she just appreciates being out on the floor and bringing it.

"She makes her teammates better but still plays her own game. The triple-doubles are nice, too, but she just has it all."

"Stats, they mean a lot," Curry added, "but when you get to watch somebody -- and, like I said, the passion that she brings, it's in her eyes. The competitive nature that she has, you can't teach that. She could be blessed with all the talent in the world, but if she didn't have that, she wouldn't be who she was."

Curry had great seats on the baseline at Haas, but he wasn't alone. He had his two daughters taking it all in with him.

"This is a pretty awesome experience," Curry said of being there with his daughters. "This is their first women's basketball game, so I'm excited to share that with them. Riley has been asking about it all day. 'When are we going? When are we going?' So, hopefully Sabrina teaches her something."

Curry isn't certain his daughters will follow in his own footsteps, but he believes they can learn plenty from Ionescu, both on and off the court.

"I think it's important in terms of role models that they can look up to," Curry described the gravity of Ionescu's impact. "I don't know if they're going to play basketball or not, but if they do, then I'm definitely going to put on some Sabrina clips and let them know this is how you play the game the right way."

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Steph won't have to search long for those clips. As impressive as she has been, Ionescu is just getting started.

Mic'd-up Ky Bowman brings fun, passion to recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice

Mic'd-up Ky Bowman brings fun, passion to recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice

The Warriors are in the midst of one of the worst seasons in franchise history, currently averaging nearly four losses for every win. They only have two winning "streaks" so far, and in the face of constant losing, it would be completely understandable if the team's morale suffered.

Yes, there have been extended periods throughout the course of the season during which Golden State has hung its heads. After all, this is a stark contrast to the reality the franchise has recently become used to. But, thanks to an influx of new players, most of which are young and fighting for their NBA opportunities, the Warriors have managed to have plenty of fun amid all the losses.

Given what Ky Bowman said while mic'd up at a recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice, and it's easy to see why.

Have a look for yourself in the video at the top of the page.

He doesn't ever seem to slow down or stop talking, and it sure looks like his enthusiasm is contagious. Bowman has gone back and forth between Golden State and Santa Cruz this year, and he brings that lively spirit with him wherever he goes.

Thanks to his own determination, the hope is that he won't be making that trip much more often. After going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, Bowman signed a two-way deal with Golden State. However, he outperformed that, and the Warriors signed him to a standard, multi-year NBA contract on Feb. 7.

[RELATED: Ask Kerith: What's the benefit of allowing Steph to play?]

Bowman appears to be a part of the Warriors' future, which should include plenty more laughs.