Steph Curry stresses Warriors 'cannot lose the joy' amid recent struggles

Steph Curry stresses Warriors 'cannot lose the joy' amid recent struggles

At a time when the Warriors need more from himself and his teammates and his coaches, Stephen Curry is asking for it.

Somebody needs to speak up if the Warriors are to get back to playing with urgency and passion and purpose. That has been missing of late.

“There’s another level, and it’s frustrating when you don’t get to that, for whatever reason,” Curry told reporters Sunday night in Charlotte. “For us to just stay focused on the mission, keep our joy, keep our energy, understand that we should be having fun doing what we do.

“It’s been a stressful year in terms of all the ups and downs, the circus and drama around our team on a daily basis. We cannot lose the joy that we need to play with and understand exactly what we’re playing for.

“And as frustrating as it is right now, we can work out way out of it. It just has to take a full commitment from everybody.”

The Warriors have lost two of their last three games, and were underwhelming in beating the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. Players and coaches acknowledge that the past 11 days, which include the All-Star break, have been below standard.

That’s how the Houston Rockets could roll into Oracle Arena on Saturday, without James Harden, and scorch the Warriors on their own floor.

“We’ve been on the All-Star break until late (Saturday) night. We finally got off the All-Star break about 8:30,” coach Steve Kerr said, referring to withering postgame assessments after losing to Houston. “We got back to work (Sunday) night. I’m excited to get back on track. These last few days have been – between one sloppy practice, one sloppy walk-through and two poor games – a good eye-opener for our guys.”

[RELATED: Boogie expresses both frustration, patience with his play]

No one was spared Saturday night, and by all accounts the team’s practice Sunday at Davidson College – the place made famous by Curry – was sharper, much more focused and representative of a team trying to regroup during a road trip that begins Monday against the Hornets in Charlotte.

“We have to understand that us showing up the way we did (Saturday night) is not going to cut it,” he said. “So we’ve got to collectively, top to bottom, figure it out.”

“Our resiliency and ability to self-correct has been one of the true catalysts for our success, so tomorrow is an opportunity to do that.”

Though the Warriors would like to earn the No. 1 overall seed, they have fallen three games behind the Milwaukee Bucks, who sit atop the Eastern Conference.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr wishes 49ers well in Super Bowl 54 vs. Chiefs

Warriors coach Steve Kerr wishes 49ers well in Super Bowl 54 vs. Chiefs

Draymond Green might not be rooting for the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, but one other prominent member of the Warriors’ organization will be.

Coach Steve Kerr delivered a message via social media on Friday, wishing the Niners well as they prepare to take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium on Feb. 2.

"I just wanna say good luck to the 49ers," Kerr said. "Everybody's pulling for you guys, let's go."

[RELATED: How Dubs benefit from Cauley-Stein trade to Mavericks]

Draymond said after shootaround on Friday that he’ll be rooting for the Chiefs, whose roster features his close friend, defensive end Frank Clark.

Both Kerr and Green happen to know a thing or two about winning championships, but only one of them will be happy with the result from Miami.

How Warriors gain flexibility in Willie Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs

How Warriors gain flexibility in Willie Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Willie Cauley-Stein walked out of shootaround, down a long corridor that leads to the Warriors' locker room in Chase Center late Friday morning in preparation for a game scheduled hours later against the Indiana Pacers. The trek marked the big man's last as a member of Golden State.

By Saturday morning, Cauley-Stein officially was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the Utah Jazz's second-round draft pick in 2020, ending his short tenure in the Bay Area. Along the way, the Warriors set themselves up for future flexibility. 

In the immediate aftermath, the Warriors shed Cauley-Stein's current $2.17 million salary and his $2.8 million player option for the 2020-21 season, while freeing up an open roster spot for this season and beyond. From a financial perspective, it sank Golden State $2.57 million below the hard cap, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. Additionally, the Warriors have enough salary space to convert the two-way deals of either Ky Bowman or Marquese Chriss. 

Six months ago, Cauley-Stein came to Warriors in search of career revitalization. After four years in Sacramento, he demanded that the Kings rescind his qualifying offer to make him a free agent last summer. After garnering more lucrative offers from other teams, he chose to sign a one-year contract with Golden State, which included the player option. With a new contract, the center hoped to keep the Warriors' postseason streak alive while earning a payday next summer. 

However, those wishes didn't come to fruition. A week before training camp, Cauley-Stein sprained his foot, causing the center to miss the first month of the season. His injury, coupled with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney missing significant time, led to a lost season for the big man.

Nonetheless, Cauley-Stein expressed a desire to stay with the Warriors long term, citing his relationship with coach Steve Kerr. 

"He wants to build a relationship with you," Cauley-Stein told NBC Sports Bay Area last month. "I think, in the past I hadn't had a relationship with my coach. [Former Kings coach Dave] Joerger, me and him had a pretty good rapport, pretty good, like cordial, but we never had like in-depth conversations about life and stuff like that, and the first couple of conversations I had with coach Kerr was real-life stuff and that hit home with me like, 'Damn, he really tried to get to know me.' "

[RELATED: Draymond not rooting for 49ers]

Unfortunately for Cauley-Stein, he won't get to continue that relationship with Kerr.

Now, with Dallas in need of a center with the loss of Dwight Powell, his hope to find a similar relationship with Rick Carlisle will immediately start in a Mavericks uniform.