Warriors

Steph Curry-LeBron James rivalry 'is not friendly,' Bill Simmons says

Steph Curry-LeBron James rivalry 'is not friendly,' Bill Simmons says

When it comes to NBA titles in head-to-head matchups, here is the score between Steph Curry and LeBron James:

Steph 3, LeBron 1.

When LeBron went back to Cleveland in the summer of 2014, he did not think his Cavaliers would end up facing Steph's Warriors in the NBA Finals for four straight years.

The four-time NBA MVP had no clue Curry would rise to the prominence he attained.

On the most recent episode of "The Book of Basketball 2.0" podcast, The Ringer's Bill Simmons and ESPN's Brian Windhorst had an exchange that certainly will be of interest to basketball fans everywhere:

Simmons: "We know this -- I'm not sure the average human being knows this -- but the LeBron-Curry thing is pretty real."

Windhorst: "Oh yeah."

Simmons: "It is not friendly. I think LeBron really has genuine disdain for him. And I think Curry's kind of like, 'F--k you, I've won as many titles as you have.' And you could feel it festering in this 2016 (Finals) because there's this underlying current of LeBron has gone back to Cleveland, the King is back, and then Curry comes in and kind of grabs the crown a little bit.

"And more importantly I think to LeBron ... became really popular."

Windhorst: "I don't know if the word jealous is fair because I don't think LeBron is jealous of anybody. But he didn't think it was fair. He's like, 'What about me?'"

Curry's popularity certainly is real. Steph had the No. 1 selling jersey for three straight years from 2016 to 2018 (LeBron was No. 2), and received more All-Star votes than LeBron in 2015 and 2016.

Additionally, Curry became the first unanimous MVP in league history in 2016. In the eyes of many, the "Baby-Faced Assassin" had supplanted LeBron as the face of the NBA.

[RELATED: Why LeBron went to see Steph play in 2008 NCAA Tournament]

For further context and evidence, don't forget about the conversation Curry and Simmons had back in August 2018:

Simmons: "I don't want you guys to like each other. This is my biggest problem with this decade. I like that I'm not positive you and LeBron like each other (Curry starts laughing). Watching from afar, it doesn't seem like you like each other. I'm sure there's a mutual respect."

Curry: "There's definitely a mutual respect. I would say though when you see guys working out with each other in the summers and you see guys playing pickup and all that -- when you step foot on the court during the season, it's a totally different environment.

"Guys can be buddies and friends and whatnot and have whatever type of relationship they want to have in the summer and off the court, but the rivalry and competition and egos and all that stuff that lives in an NBA game and when you're trying to hold that trophy ... it's really there and it's not going anywhere."

Simmons: "I don't want you guys to get along. I want adverserial relationships."

Curry: "They're there. They're there. I promise you."

Enough said.

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Warriors have number of must-see games as Steph Curry's return looms

Warriors have number of must-see games as Steph Curry's return looms

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

There hasn't been a lot to cheer about for the Warriors this season, so with 24 games left on the schedule, those looking to be entertained (and are not overly worried about draft odds) should be quite excited about Steph Curry's imminent return. With him back in the lineup, every game the rest of the way should be intriguing as we watch the development of on-court chemistry between him and Andrew Wiggins.

[RELATED: NBA's attitude on cannabis changing, stops shy of embrace]

A few of the 24 remaining matchups stand out above the rest:

March 10 vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Arguably the most dangerous team in the Western Conference comes to Chase Center in a couple of weeks. The Clippers have not faced the Warriors since the trade deadline, so the new look Dubs squad with Curry, Wiggins and Draymond Green should be an exciting home matchup against Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

It is uncertain if all the stars will play, but if they do, the Chase Center crowd will be ready for fireworks.

March 14 at Milwaukee Bucks

If the Clippers are the possible favorites to represent the West in the Finals, the Bucks are expected to meet them there out of the Eastern Conference.

The matchup will be very tough for the Warriors, and likely will result in a loss. But everyone will be keeping a close eye on the game within the game -- the competition and interactions between Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Perhaps a surprise Warriors win would be a great pitch to woo the Greek Freak to the Bay Area.

March 16 at Toronto Raptors

The first contest between the 2019 Finals teams will be in mid-March, and while there have been plenty of changes to the rosters (primarily the Warriors'), there is sure to be a good atmosphere in Toronto.

While the Warriors' season has hit rock bottom, the Raptors have impressively coped with the loss of Leonard and currently own the second-best record in the East. This will be another tough game for the Warriors, but some pride may be on the line for Curry, Green and Kevon Looney after their defeat last June.

March 21 at New York Knicks

When Curry suits up in Madison Square Garden, it always is a spectacle. The Knicks constantly are reminded of what could have been if they had drafted Curry, who has publicly said that New York was where he originally wanted to play coming out of college.

Like the Warriors, the Knicks have had a terrible season, so this game will be very winnable. But it will come at the end of a rough five-game road trip against the East's best, so it is hard to predict which Warriors team will show up.

March 25 vs. Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young against Curry. That itself should inspire the masses to watch the two lottery-bound teams compete in San Francisco.

The Hawks are bristling with some young talented players, so a matchup against the up-and-coming Warriors rookies and young vets, like Eric Paschall and Marquese Chriss, should be fun. The two teams also are willing trade partners, with former Warriors front office executive Travis Schlenk running the Hawks basketball operations, so perhaps the two squads will be scouting each other for future deals as well.

April 2 at Houston Rockets

The best win of the Warriors' season had to be the shocking upset of the Rockets on Christmas Day. The rivalry between the two teams always has been must-see, but the addition of Russell Westbrook to the mix has made the games that much more volatile.

Don't forget, it last week when Rockets pummeled the Warriors at Chase Center that Westbrook got into an altercation with multiple Warriors players, ending in his ejection. It is possible that the tension boils over yet again.

April 7 at Lakers

LeBron James will not be playing against the Warriors on Thursday night. But there is a good chance the Lakers will be trying to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference come April 7, so it would not be a surprise if James suits up.

Curry and the Warriors have notoriously shot poorly in Staples Center against the Lakers, but this roster is completely different than past Warriors teams. Hopefully for the Warriors, next year both California rivals will be title contenders.

April 8 vs. Cavaliers

Why would Cleveland be a fun matchup this late in the season? Because there is a very good chance that the Cavs and Warriors will be "competing" for the worst record in the NBA.

Of course, the three worst teams in the league have the same odds of obtaining the No. 1 overall pick, but the team that finishes at the very bottom of the standings is guaranteed to stay within the top five of the draft. The game will be on the second night of a back-to-back, so there is a solid chance that veterans Curry and Green won't play.

Warriors' Bob Myers recalls NBA draft dinner with 'shy' Klay Thompson

Warriors' Bob Myers recalls NBA draft dinner with 'shy' Klay Thompson

There's nothing Warriors fans love more than a good Klay Thompson story.

So you should thank president of basketball operations/general manager Bob Myers for providing the latest tale.

Either just before or after the Warriors drafted Klay Thompson in 2011, Myers (who was assistant GM at the time), GM Larry Riley and the No. 11 overall pick went out to dinner together.

Let's just say that Klay wasn't very talkative.

"He barely said a word. He barely said anything," Myers told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic on the most recent episode of "The TK Show" podcast. "He's looking down at his plate. Couldn't tell if he was shy, insecure, scared. 

"Didn't have any idea if he could play this kind of defense. Thought he was probably competitive. Put up big numbers at Washington State. The truth was, if you were at that dinner -- and you would have not been wrong -- got up and been like, 'This guy is not ready for the NBA.'

"So you have to factor all that in. And you say, 'Well, does it matter that he's been around it and his dad was in it? How do we make sense of all this?'"

Spoiler alert -- it turned out that Klay was ready for the NBA.

[RELATED: Dubs brought in Klay's friend 'off the street' to scrimmage]

After Golden State traded Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks and inserted him into the starting lineup, Klay averaged 18.6 points, 3.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals over the final 28 games of his rookie season.

The three-time NBA champion is a five-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA selection and earned Second-Team All-Defense honors last season.

Solid draft pick.

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