Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Report: Warriors told Stephen Curry in 2012 they’d pay him max if healthy, but he took smaller extension

1 Comment

As the 2012-13 season approached, Stephen Curry was eligible for a rookie-scale contract extension. He showed plenty of promise during his first three NBA seasons, but he missed 56 games the season before with ankle injuries and hurt his ankle again in the preseason.

The Warriors offered a four-year, $44 million extension. Considering the injury risk, that deal seemed reasonable.

But Golden State apparently discussed a contingency if Curry wanted to wait for restricted free agency the following summer.

Curry’s agent, Jeff Austin, via Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:

“They said if he was healthy at the end of the season, they set aside the max money for him,” Austin said, remembering the negotiations. “The Warriors were terrific the whole process. They told him if he could stay healthy, he would get the max.”

Curry took the security of the $44 million extension. Most agreed that it was at least in the range of fair compromise, though opinion probably skewed in Curry’s favor.  Kurt Helin said Golden State should have let Curry hit restricted free agency rather than pay so much. Brett Pollakoff wrote, “The deal seems like a better one for Curry than it does for the Warriors on the surface.”

Of course, Curry stayed healthy that season. He played 78 games and even received a few fifth-place MVP votes.

But he was locked into that four-year, $44 million extension – not a free agent eligible for a five-year, $79 million max contract.

The difference altered the NBA for a generation.

The Warriors squeezed just enough cap space to sign Andre Iguodala, who won Finals MVP for them. With their credibility boosted and Curry still stuck on that relatively low-paying deal, they again cleared just enough space to sign Kevin Durant, another Golden State Finals MVP. Curry’s bargain salary also made it easier for the Warriors’ owners to afford Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Curry’s contract extension was the root of Golden State’s dynasty.

He’s on a new max contract now (though he didn’t get all the bells and whistles he desired). The Warriors are a juggernaut, raking in money and spending a lot of it to keep their core in tact. They’re favored to win even more titles.

But it’s interesting to look back and wonder: What if Curry bet on himself in 2012?

League’s Last Two Minute Report backs referees (mostly) in Raptors/Thunder game

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Anyone who watched the Thunder’s win over the Raptors Sunday afternoon in Toronto — especially the final few minutes — thought it was not referee Marc Davis and crew’s finest hour. There were missed calls and three-straight ejections of Raptors players, which all seemed rather hair-trigger (especially coach Dwane Casey, who was tossed for something a fan behind him said).

The NBA’s Last Two Minute report doesn’t see it that way — it says the referees nailed it.

According to the report, there was only one missed call in the final two minutes: Carmelo Anthony held Pascal Siakam as a pass came to him with 11.7 seconds left, and that should have been called.

What about the play that set DeMar DeRozan off and ultimately got him ejected, the drive to the basket with 33 seconds left (and the Raptors down two) where DeRozan thought Corey Brewer fouled him? The report said that was a good no call:

DeRozan (TOR) starts his drive and Brewer (OKC) moves laterally in his path and there is contact. The contact is incidental as both players attempt to perform normal basketball moves….

RHH shows Brewer (OKC) make contact with the ball and the part of DeRozan’s (TOR) hand that is on the ball. The hand is considered “part of the ball” when it is in contact with the ball and therefore, contact on that part of the hand by a defender while it is in contact with the ball is not illegal.

(I didn’t see it that way, I think the contact was more than incidental, and to me looking at the replay Brewer catches some wrist and impedes the shot in a way that was not legal. Just my two cents.)

The report does not cover the ejections, which are reviewed by league operations but not part of this report.

Three thoughts out of all this:

1) Raptors fans/management/players have every right to feel the calls went against them in this game. As for calls always going against them — as DeRozan complained about after the game — 29 other teams and fan bases are convinced the officials have it out for them, too. I never bought that.

2) The Raptors didn’t lose this game solely because of the officiating. Russell Westbrook was clutch down the stretch, the Thunder were part of it, and the Raptors had other issues, too (Serge Ibaka had a rough game, for example).

3) This loss also does not say a thing about the Raptors in the postseason (even if they went a little too much isolation at the end) — this was their third game in four days, they looked tired and flat at the end. That will not be the case in the playoffs.

Rumor: Injured Jimmy Butler wore his jersey under shirt and jacket on Timberwolves bench

AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King
1 Comment

Jimmy Butler‘s competitive fire burns hot.

How hot?

Butler is chomping at the bit to return from his knee injury. He sat on the Timberwolves’ bench during their loss to the Rockets last night wearing what appeared to be typical attire for a sidelined player. But dig deeper, and…

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

This story is too good to check out.

Kevin Love returns to Cavaliers lineup Monday vs. Bucks

Associated Press
Leave a comment

The last time Kevin Love suited up for the Cavaliers, it was still January and Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, and Jae Crowder were still on the team.

That is about to change tonight — Love will return from a fractured hand and play for the Cavaliers, but on a minutes restriction to start, interim coach Larry Drew confirmed.

Cleveland needs Love back. The Cavaliers went 11-9 without him in this stretch (and 6-7 since the All-Star break) with an offense that has still been top 10 in the NBA but a defense that is holding them back. The Cavaliers’ defense is just not on the same page right now, and the more time the regular rotations guys get to play together, the better they should be before the playoffs start.

As Love rounds into form, the Cavaliers have to figure out their rotations. Does Love start Love next to Larry Nance Jr., or does Nance come off the bench again? Probably the latter, but the Cavaliers will toy with the rotations (and do that more when Tristan Thompson returns).

Former NBA All-Star Steve Francis cited for public intoxication

Getty Images
1 Comment

What happened to Steve Francis [after his playing days]? I was drinking heavily, is what happened. And that can be just as bad (as drug use). In the span of a few years I lost basketball, I lost my whole identity, and I lost my stepfather, who committed suicide.”
—Steve Francis, writing in the Players’ Tribune earlier this month, about his journey from selling crack to the NBA, and what happened after.

Addiction, once it’s got you, never goes away. The fight to stay sober/clean is a new one every day.

Steve Francis was cited for public intoxication in Burbank, Calif., after an incident at a hotel bar, according to TMZ (since confirmed by other reports).

Francis, 41, was arrested around 11:40 PM after police were called for a disturbance between two men at a hotel in Burbank.

Law enforcement sources tell us when cops arrived, Francis was intoxicated. He was arrested for being drunk in public.

Francis was transported to jail … before being given a citation and released around 7 AM Monday morning.

Francis denied in the Players’ Tribune article rumors he had a drug problem, but he owned up to drinking.