The Warriors just won the 2015 NBA championship, completing one of the best seasons in league history.
What’s on Stephen Curry’s mind?
We’re going to enjoy this for the whole summer and even into next year. But we want to get another one, because this feels amazing.
The Warriors definitely have a strong chance to repeat.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, Shaun Livingston and Festus Ezeli are all under contract for next season. Draymond Green will be a restricted free agent, and he’s a practical lock to return.
There’s value in continuity, but there’s risk of locking into the wrong group We already know this team can win a title, so that risk is eliminated.
The Warriors, like all champions, had good fortune with injuries for themselves and opponents. That’s no lock to continue next season.
But they’ve put themselves among the select few teams in strong title contention. At this point, that’s all you can ask.
Draymond Green is a restricted free agent this summer.
Draymond Green wants to get paid max money.
Just don’t let those two facts lead you down the “my team can snatch Green away from Golden State” road. Because they can’t, despite some reports earlier this season.
Don’t take my word for it, take Green’s. Here is what he told Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.
I asked him specifically: Draymond, are you sure you’ll be part of this team next season?
“I’ll be here,” Green said firmly and distinctly. “I love this group of guys.”
Or, there is what Green said on KNBR radio in the Bay Area, via the Bay Area News Group’s Diamond Leung.
Or there is what the Pistons — the team near where Green grew up, a team that would love to bring him back home — are saying, via Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
Pistons fans have been yearning for Green to return since a Yahoo! Sports report said that Green had “had significant interest with pursuing an offer sheet with his hometown Detroit Pistons.” But the Free Press has reported that the Pistons’ front office views signing Green as unrealistic because the Warriors will match any offer sheet he signs.
Or if those three things are not enough, there is what Warriors GM Bob Meyers said about Green returning:
“Tell the Warrior fans they shouldn’t worry.”
I think that should about cover it.
For decades — since Magic Johnson and Larry Bird — the NBA has marketed its stars more than its teams. With that, the NBA’s television ratings and national popularity have been tied to the quality of its stars.
When the 2015 NBA Finals pitted the two most popular players in the game today — LeBron James and Stephen Curry — the NBA was in for a ratings bonanza.
These NBA Finals averaged 19.9 million viewers per game, up 30 percent from last year (when LeBron James was there taking on Tim Duncan and the Spurs), the league and ESPN/ABC announced. That is the highest ratings ever since ABC took over the broadcasts. ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported it’s the highest ratings for an NBA finals since 1998 — Michael Jordan’s final season (we choose to ignore the Wizards years).
NBA television viewership has been up and down in recent seasons, but the drama of this series drew viewers to their televisions.
It also sent them to social media — Facebook reported 32 million of its users were discussing the NBA Finals and there were 98 million video views tied to the Finals.
The real test for the NBA is to build on this next year — regardless of who makes the NBA Finals.