But maybe he’s not so sorry.
When will Curry return to his main role?
The question is not if Stephen Curry is coming back this season, but when. And, from what I’ve been told, you might want to clear your schedule for March 1. The Warriors host the Washington Wizards that night.
That’s not set in stone, of course. More like a target date. But expect a return by the face of the franchise before next season.
I wouldn’t get too hung up on the exact date. That’s a ways off. But Curry having a specific target in mind speaks to his progress.
Golden State is the only Western Conference team not in the playoff race. It’s too late for Curry to change the arc of the Warriors’ season. They’re headed toward excellent draft position.
But Curry is a basketball player, and if he’s healthy enough to play, he’ll play. Returning this season could set him up to thrive next season, when Golden State – with Klay Thompson healthy plus whatever D'Angelo Russell and a high pick become – will again hold big-time potential.
Curry returning would also make the Warriors more entertaining the last month and a half of the season. It’s important for them to keep their big-spending fans satisfied.
Klay Thompson will forever be No. 1 at Washington State.
In his three seasons as a Cougar, Thompson set the school record for three pointers — 242 — and set the school’s single-season record for points scored (733), became the school’s third all-time leading scorer (1,756) and averaged 17.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals a game.
We all know what happened next: He was drafted No. 11 by the Warriors and went on to an NBA career that includes three NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors, twice being named All-NBA and five times an All-Star, he holds the NBA record for most made threes in a game (14), and he has a gold medal from the Rio Olympics. And he’s still adding to that legacy.
Saturday, Thompson had his No. 1 jersey retired by the school.
Stephen Curry was in Pullman for the ceremony.
Even LeBron James shouted it out on his Instagram story.
LeBron James showed loved to Klay Thompson’s WSU jersey retirement on his IG story tonight pic.twitter.com/iKNrXZXfG0
— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) January 19, 2020
Thompson is the second men’s basketball number retired by WSU, the other being Steve Puidokas’ No. 55 (the school’s all-time leading scorer, he played there in the 1970s).
Which lead fans in Phoenix and Sacramento to ask, “How did we pass on this guy in the draft?” He was the MVP of the second-best league on the planet at age 18, what led two teams to pass on him and a third — the Atlanta Hawks — to trade him on draft night in June 2018.
Doncic himself thought he was going to the Kings’ at No. 2, he told Sam Amick of The Athletic.
“They came to Madrid (to see him play for Real Madrid and to share a dinner on June 5, 2018),” the 20-year-old Doncic told The Athletic about the Kings’ contingent’s visit during the draft process. “They came with the owner. Everybody came, so I honestly thought they were going to pick me.”
So, I asked, was it ever made clear to him why they didn’t?
“I mean, I think it’s because of Euroleague; it’s different basketball,” Doncic said.
Kings GM Vlade Divac instead drafted Marvin Bagley III, believing the Duke big man would be a better fit next to emerging point guard De'Aaron Fox. Bagley has put up nice numbers this season, 14.2 points and 6.8 rebounds a game, but missed 30 games with a foot injury. He has not looked like a franchise-changing player.
Sacramento isn’t the only team where fans have questions about the top of the 2018 draft. In the Suns case, they drafted Deandre Ayton out of in-state Arizona, a move that it is rumored to have been pushed by owner Robert Sarver (and a number of teams had Ayton and Doncic rated close to equal, which is a misread of the increasingly positionless direction of the NBA, but that’s another topic). Atlanta drafted Doncic third and traded him to Dallas, but got back Trae Young — himself on an All-Star trajectory in his second season — and another first-round pick. Young says it is still too early to judge that trade.
Meanwhile, the Kings appear on track to miss the playoffs for a 14th straight season. The luster of the beautiful new Golden 1 Center arena is starting to wear off, and fans in the California capital want some wins. Hard to blame them, but they may need to be patient. Again.
Royce O'Neale is a name casual NBA fans may not recognize.
However, GMs around the league recognize him is the kind of role player teams need to win. O’Neale is asked to guard the opposing team’s best wing player nightly, while on the other end of the court he’s shooting 44.3 percent from three. He’s become a critical part of Utah’s rotation.
So the Jazz have locked him up with a contract extension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale has agreed to a four-year, $36 million contract extension, agents Ty Sullivan and Steven Heumann of @caa_sports told ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 19, 2020
The Jazz — who have won 16-of-18 — just got Mike Conley back in the rotation, and have jumped up to a top-four seed in the West (as of this writing). Things are looking up, and also they have set themselves up well financially for the future.
2020/21 Jazz cap info: Post Royce O’Neale extension
*14 players under contract including 1st rd. pick
* $18M below the projected tax
* Still have $9.8M midlevel and $3.9M biannual exception
* Free agents: J. Clarkson (bird) and E. Mudiay (non-bird)
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) January 19, 2020
Bigger bills are coming in Utah, in the summer of 2021 the Jazz will need to max out Donovan Mitchell with an extension plus re-sign Rudy Gobert. Which is why locking in a quality role player like O’Neale at a fair price now is a smart move.