Author: Dan Feldman

Golden State Warriors Victory Parade And Rally

Stephen Curry says he’s not interested in leaving Warriors in 2017 free agency


Stephen Curry is looking ahead – to his quest for another championship and to his contract expiring in 2017.

Curry, via Jimmy Spencer of Sporting News:

“As I am thinking right now, free agency isn’t really appealing to me because I love where I’m at, love the organization I’m playing for, and the Bay Area is home for me and my family,” Curry said.

Of course, Curry feels this way right now. Golden State just won a championship, and Curry is reigning MVP. It’s hard to imagine his situation being any better.

A lot can change in two years.

I’d bet on Curry remaining happy, though. The Warriors are a pretty young team and should contend for a while. They have an innovative coach in Steve Kerr, and a strong front office led by Bob Myers. This is a recipe for prolonged success.

Of course, Golden State will have to pay up to keep Curry. A max contract projects to be worth more than $175 million over five years in 2017, and that’s not even accounting for the possibility of the union fighting for a higher individual max by then.

One of the keys to the Warriors’ success is Curry’s relatively low-paying extension. That has freed them to spend more on supporting players and build a strong and deep roster, but the clock on that luxury is ticking.

Re-signing Curry will bring complications for the Warriors – complications they’ll gladly face to keep their top player. He’s going to get paid. There’s no way around that.

But if he’s not even forcing Golden State to recruit him, that’s one hurdle already cleared.

How a Spurs assistant forced his way onto LaMarcus Aldridge’s plane and persuaded him to sign

Portland Trail Blazers v New Jersey Nets

For a while, it seemed the Clippers were holding DeAndre Jordan hostage until he spurned the Mavericks and re-signed with Los Angeles.

Turns out, everything was pretty relaxed at Jordan’s house.

The real dramatic meeting between a free agent and pushy team rep involved LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge met with teams in Los Angeles, and then he touched base with Ime Udoka, a Spurs assistant and former teammate of Aldridge.

Aldridge, in a Q&A with Sam Amick of USA Today:


Q: Did I hear it right that he flew back to Dallas with you after your LA meetings were over?

A: “It (the meeting process) was done. I was down to two teams, Phoenix and the Spurs. I thought (Udoka) was staying in San Antonio for the summer, so I was like, ‘Hey, I’ve got a jet going to Dallas. You could get a flight from Dallas to San Antonio (to head home).’ So he was like, ‘Cool.’ So he gets on the jet, and I’m like, ‘We’re leaving. You should buy your flight (to San Antonio from Dallas) on the plane. Go buy your flight.’ He was like, ‘I ain’t buying no flight.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ He’s like, ‘I live here (in Los Angeles) right now. I’m flying just to answer any questions that you have.’ I was like, ‘Man, you’re crazy.’ I said, ‘Get off the plane.’ He said, ‘No, I’m going to answer any question that you have.’ So I’m like, ‘You don’t have to do this. Don’t do this.’ He’s like, ‘Nah, I’m not getting off.’

“So we rode – and I had my kids with me and my mom – so they sat in the front of the plane and him and I went to the back of the plane and talked the whole flight. It was just conversation, about the system, about me. It wasn’t really a lot of questions. It was just him telling me how I’m going to fit in. Everybody was making this big fuss about how I’m not going to be able to take shots anymore, or be the scorer that I am, and he was just telling me, ‘We need a guy to score down there. Tim (Duncan) is older, and we need a guy to command a double team down there.’ So I was like, ‘Maybe I’m not a Spur, because I’ve been averaging 23 (points per game) for the last three to four years, and maybe I don’t fit into y’all’s system of let’s all average 17 (points per game).’ And he was like, ‘No, we’re not trying to change who you are and make you average 16 or 17. We want you to be you, because you’re going to help us be better and vice versa.’ He kind of reaffirmed that they didn’t want to change me, and that who I am is ok.”

Aldridge obviously had a preexisting respect for Udoka. Otherwise, that could have come across as more intrusive than helpful.

Likewise, Aldridge clearly had a preexisting respect for the Spurs. He’d been linked to them long before free agency and any meetings.

So, I think he would have chosen San Antonio regardless.

But the Suns made a compelling pitch, and it’s a darn good thing for the Spurs Udoka made this final push — just in case.

Suns inducting Steve Nash into Ring of Honor

Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns

Suns fans surely weren’t thrilled when Steve Nash left for the Lakers, but they gave him a standing ovation in his return to Phoenix.

As Nash and the Lakers fell way short of expectations and the Suns exceeded them, it became even easier for Phoenix fans to appreciate Nash.

They’ll have another opportunity in a couple months.

Suns release:

The Phoenix Suns will induct two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, Steve Nash, into the Suns Ring of Honor on Friday, October 30, at halftime of the Suns-Portland Trail Blazers game

Nash will become the fourteenth member of the Suns Ring of Honor, joining Alvan Adams, Charles Barkley, Tom Chambers, Jerry Colangelo, Walter Davis, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Connie Hawkins, Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle, John MacLeod, Joe Proski, Dick Van Arsdale and Paul Westphal, as those who have received the Suns highest honor.

That’s a pretty big ring of honor, and Nash comfortably warrants inclusion.

A two-time MVP with the Suns, Nash was the catalyst of Mike D’Antoni’s revolutionary up-tempo spread offense. Nash pushed the pace, found open teammates in highly efficient areas and shot incredibly well himself. Those Phoenix teams were good enough to win a title. They just happened not to.

Nash is an all-time Suns great, maybe the franchise’s best player ever. This is only the start of honors he’ll receive in retirement.