Stephen Curry was the No. 7 pick in the 2009 draft — behind Hasheem Thabeet, Tyreke Evans and Jonny Flynn (the last one was the David Kahn head scratcher of that draft).
And he was taken one spot ahead of the New York Knicks (who took Jordan Hill).
At the time, Curry was bummed he wasn’t going to be a Knicks, he told Will Leitch in a fantastic profile at Sports on Earth. But the Bay Area is a fantastic place to live with an underrated fan base for the Warriors that is starved for something good to cheer for. Curry is already giving them that — they got to the second round of the playoffs and he got a key to the city.
Looking back now, he loves how the draft went.
“No offense to New York, but I’m so, so happy I didn’t fall to them in the draft,” he says after I tell him I’m a Knicks fan. “No matter what they do with the new arena, they better not change the dynamics of the fanbase. If we have the same fans, in this new place … man, I’d want to play here forever. Wouldn’t you?”
Forever is a mighty long time, but what you get out of the piece is that Curry is happy, settled and wants this ride to continue. Go read the entire piece, it’s well done. And you can’t blame Curry for liking his situation, one where you see a Warriors team that should get better and better the next few years (if he can stay healthy, and if the Warriors big men can stay healthy, too).
He also hated living in the city (he lived in San Francisco for a year) so maybe Manhattan wasn’t the best place for him.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.