A few years ago, there were rumblings that Stephen Curry wanted out of Golden State after his rookie contract to pursue the brighter lights of a bigger market, or back home to his hometown Charlotte Bobcats.
Two things have happened since these rumors were stirring: Curry became electric, a must-see basketball player in the 2013 playoffs, and more importantly, he showed that he can be the No. 1 option on a playoff contender. Secondly, the Bobcats have plummeted, becoming arguably the worst franchise in all of sports. They have been in the lottery in four of the last five years, and they can’t even earn a N0. 1 pick.
After the Warriors’ electric 2013 playoff run, Curry was given a key to City Hall. This comes under the assumption that the Warriors will indeed be moving to San Francisco in 2017, when their agreement with Oracle Arena comes to an end. What better way to kick off this partnership then giving Curry a key that symbolizes his stature as an authority figure on the Warriors and in the NBA in general. People nationwide are now recognizing the Warriors and Curry’s accolades, which is San Francisco’s way of saying, “You made it, kid. Why don’t you stay a while.”
Before the 2012-13 season, Curry signed a four-year, $44 million extension, which, in hindsight, looks like a steal for the Warriors. Curry is already outplaying his contract, which means he will likely garner a maximum extension when his contract expires. Right now, Curry is anything but a financial burden on the Warriors, but come 2017, they will have to pay top dollar to keep him in the Bay Area.
The Warriors are poised to be a major free agency player in 2014. With only $25 million on the books, they could sign a major free agent or two to pair with their young core (though the Warriors will have to increase both Harrison Barnes’ and Thompson’s salaries). The fact that the Warriors are getting closer and closer to be one of the most desirable free-agent landing spots, could be tempting enough to pair an elite center with Curry.
Besides David Lee, Curry is actually the oldest of the core group (Curry, Thompson, Barnes) the Warriors want to build around, and Curry will likely outlast Lee in Golden State. So, he will become the captain and leader of the squad. Although many outsiders may say this is already Curry’s team, Lee is the fabric that keeps the group level headed. He has been around the league a while, and knows how to mentor the younger guys. This is a skill Curry still needs to learn. Then, he can pass on knowledge like a true veteran.
As the team grows, so does Curry. The allure of being with the same franchise through his formative and most productive years will keep Curry around.