NBC Sports

Steph sends two clear messages with Warriors extension

NBC Sports
Steph Curry

Never was there a doubt about Stephen Curry’s allegiance, even as the Warriors risk squandering what’s left of his prime by making a sharp turn toward the future. Curry is a loyalist. And, moreover, he routinely bets on himself.

By agreeing Tuesday to a four-year extension worth $215.4 million, first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by multiple sources, Curry is sending a signal visible across the full NBA landscape. He believes the Warriors, even as they fill out their roster with free agents as risky as they are skilled, will find a way to compete at the highest level.

Curry believes in Golden State’s championship core, teammates Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, as well as coach Steve Kerr, and believes Warriors CEO Joe Lacob is sincere -- as indicated by the team’s luxury tax bill -- when he says winning is a priority.

Curry is not down with another year of watching the playoffs from his man cave. After the years of championship parades and champagne, of forever memories and flashy rings, of living as the dream he imagined during his teenage years, he wants another taste of that life.

He’s trusting himself to maintain MVP-level production and trusting team ownership to deliver on his desire.

 

There’s another message that Curry is sending, and it’s as admirable as it is selfish.

In agreeing to put his signature on a contract that keeps him with the Warriors past his 38th birthday, Curry is practically announcing that he wants to end his career in the Bay Area. The idea of being a one-team superstar appeals to Curry on many levels, and it’s one of several reasons why he has immeasurable respect for the late, legendary Kobe Bryant.

Kobe was a Laker, his heart pumping purple and gold blood. He enjoyed the best of the times and endured the worst of times but never, even in dark moments of frustration, wanted to leave Los Angeles. He knew how much he meant to the region, and how much his presence in the world’s entertainment center amplified his existence to the rest of the world.

Walk through downtown LA five years ago and shout “Kobe,” be prepared to hear it shouted back. By multiple people of all walks.

Stand on any street corner in the Bay this week, this month, or this year, and shout “Steph.” Go ahead. Expect an echo. He’s a civic treasure.

Curry cherishes being a Warrior because the franchise best identified his gifts, believed in his potential and stayed at his side through some outside doubts early in his career. They traded a very popular player, Monta Ellis, as a way of informing Curry that this was his team. That trade was completed one day before Curry’s 24th birthday – and eight months before he signed a four-year rookie extension worth $44 million.

The Warriors have no regrets. They reached the playoffs in 2013, Curry’s first full season as the undisputed leader of the team. One year later, he made his first All-Star team. One year after that, in 2014-15, Curry was voted NBA MVP and led the Warriors to their first championship in 40 years.

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What sometimes gets overlooked is that the Warriors during that span become such a local phenomenon that they generated momentum for a new arena in San Francisco. It is fair to wonder if Chase Center would have been built without Curry’s impact.

So, when it came time for a new contract, in 2017, the Warriors prepared a five-year supermax contract, worth $201.2 million, an NBA record at that time, and presented it to agent Jeff Austin, who approved Curry’s signature.

There was no need to negotiate, conceded general manager Bob Myers.

There is no need to negotiate this time around, either.

The Warriors would be right to give the man his money -- and to do what they can, while you can, to make the most of his career before the statue goes up.

 

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