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Stephen Curry on idea Warriors are not title contenders: ‘I just laugh at it’

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The Golden State Warriors won a title — and had a 73-win regular season — before Kevin Durant walked through that door.

Now that Durant has walked (well, limped) out that door, combined with the facts this is an older and thinner Warriors roster, a lot of people are counting them out of the title chase. Klay Thompson already said do so at your own peril because the dynasty can continue, and the team re-signed Daymond Green to keep the core intact for a few more years.

Stephen Curry‘s reaction to the doubts about this team? Laughter. Via Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“I just laugh at it,” Curry said during his second annual Warriors All-Girls basketball camp in Oakland on Monday afternoon. “Anybody can say anything about anything nowadays and it can pick up steam. So we’ve had lots of support. We’ve had a lot of criticism on the way that doesn’t change now. Just what they’re saying is different so doesn’t change how we go about our business.”

It’s not just that Durant is gone, but so are trusted role players such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Curry understands they have to build this thing back up.

“It’s just a matter of really trying to get guys comfortable with the system, be able to highlight the different skill sets that we have and different strengths and the chemistry,” Curry said. “It will take a little bit of time and a lot of hard work, but like I said, we have a lot of high IQ guys from our core and a lot of leadership and commitment to what we do, so starting in the training camp and beyond, you have to have a mindset that you will continue to get better as the season goes on.”

The last three seasons the Warriors started off with a massive margin for error and they went on to win two titles (and it took an avalanche of injuries to stop a three-peat). This year that is gone. This season the Warriors are going to be good, but they are just one of five or six teams in the West that enter the season with legitimate reasons to believe they can come out of it all and take a title.

For the Warriors, everything has to go right. Curry and Green have to stay healthy, Thompson has to return and be close to his elite self on both ends (he likely is not back until after the All-Star break), D'Angelo Russell needs to fit in next to Curry (or be traded for a player/players who do), big men Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein need to form a strong front line, and role players such as Alfonzo McKinnie and Alec Burks have to thrive in their roles.

It’s a lot of things that have to go right in Golden State next season.

It also all could happen, and we know how good the Curry/Thompson/Green combo can be when they are clicking.

Jon Gruden encourages Oakland Raiders to be like Warriors in 2019 NBA Finals

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The Warriors were hit hard by injury in the NBA Finals – to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden wants his team to find inspiration from the neighboring Bay Area squad.

NFL Films:

Gruden:

You watch the Warriors in the NBA Finals, Klay Thompson went down, didn’t he? Durant went down. They still pushed it, man. Everybody’s got to be ready to step up when called on. We need everybody.

The Warriors did compete hard in the Finals despite those injuries. There’s value in appreciating their determination, not just the result.

But does Gruden know Golden State lost?

Report: Draymond Green gets player option on extension, breaking Warriors trend

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Stephen Curry signed a bargain rookie-scale contract extension with the Warriors while  still experiencing significant ankle injuries. He got healthy, blossomed into a superstar and didn’t complain. His relatively low salary was instrumental in Golden State clearing cap space to sign Kevin Durant and building a dynasty.

Curry finally got a chance to get his deserved contract in 2017. He re-signed on a super-max deal and asked for a player option.

Even after all he had meant for them, the Warriors said no.

Klay Thompson didn’t get a player option on his rookie-extension. Not on his max contract this summer, either. Even when talks broke down with Draymond Green during his lone free agency, Golden State got him to come to terms without including a player option.

Green finally broke the Warriors on player options with his four-year, $99,666,363 extension.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Kevin Durant got players options on his three 1+1 contracts with the Warriors. That speaks to his power. Those also weren’t long-term deals. It’s a different thing.

This is Green’s reward for taking such a big discount on the extension.

His max for re-signing projected to be $204 million over five years. His max for signing elsewhere projected to be $151 million over four years. He could’ve even won Defensive Player of the Year or made an All-NBA team and become eligible for a super-max contract, which projects to be worth $238 million over five years.

Green wouldn’t have necessarily gotten max offers in free agency. But he had a chance. He certainly had plenty of room to make more money than he will on the extension.

The player option is better to have than not. It’s value here is limited, though.

Green can opt out of $27,586,225 at age 33. It seems unlikely he’d draw a higher salary in 2023 free agency. Maybe he could opt out to get more overall compensation in a multi-year deal.

The player option Green really could have used was for this year. He could have gotten way more than his $18,539,130 salary on the open market. He’s coming off a strong playoff run and is just 29. He knew his options would likely be more limited next year at age 30, which is why he signed his extension.

That’s also why the Warriors have so strongly resisted player options in their contracts.

Report: Draymond Green signing four-year, $99,666,363 extension with Warriors

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Draymond Green put out word he wouldn’t accept a discount on his next contract and was eying a super-max deal.

Instead, he’ll accept a relatively cheap (though the largest-allowable right now) extension with the Warriors.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

It’s quite surprising Green accepted this. Here’s what he’ll get and what he could’ve gotten in free agency:

  • Extension: $99,666,363 over four years ($24,916,591 annually)
  • Max re-signing: $204 million over five years ($39 million annually)
  • Max signing elsewhere: $151 million over four years ($38 million annually)
  • Super-max re-signing: $238 million over five years ($46 million annually)*

*Green would’ve become super-max eligible by making an All-NBA team or winning Defensive Player of the Year next season. Both honors are realistically within reach for him.

It’s far from guaranteed Green would have gotten the max, let alone the super-max, in free agency. But he had a chance. He certainly had an opportunity to earn much more than he’s getting on this extension.

Instead, Green is opting for financial security and staying with Golden State (though this extension can’t contain a no-trade clause). The Warriors now have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Green and D'Angelo Russell locked in for several more seasons. This should remain a strong team for years to come.

But aging threatens the remaining championship core. Especially Green. That plays into why he’d settle for this extension.

The 29-year-old spent most of last season out of shape. He has lost confidence in his 3-pointer. It’s hard to find someone who thinks higher of how Green has played the last several seasons. Even I am concerned about where his game goes from here. Green can also be ornery. He might have pushed out Kevin Durant and has certainly annoyed Steve Kerr.

On the other hand, Green improved his conditioning and stepped up in the playoffs. His combination of defensive versatility and effectiveness is unmatched. He remains an excellent passer. He’s one of the NBA’s smartest players. There’s a good chance Green, though athleticism helps him, will find ways to contribute as he heads into his 30s. As much as he grates on people, Green also brings an incredible competitive spirit.

That’s why it’s so surprising Green took this extension. He had a chance to be the second-best unrestricted free agent (behind Anthony Davis) next summer. Green just hired Rich Paul, an agent known for pushing hard. Teams like the Knicks, Lakers and Hawks could have created a bidding war. Super-max eligibility could’ve added pressure on the Warriors.

But Green went the safe route. If he’s happy with that, good for him. Golden State should be thrilled to lock him in at this price.

Klay Thompson: ‘Premature to say there’s no more dynasty’ (VIDEO)

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The Golden State Warriors might be in trouble this year. Kevin Durant is now with the Brooklyn Nets, and Klay Thompson will be recovering for most of the season with an ACL tear that he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

But still, the Warriors still have a lot of talent. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, D'Angelo Russell, and Kevon Looney are all going to be impactful players for this squad in 2019-20.

It was also good news for Golden State fans that Thompson’s injury — if he had to suffer a serious one — was an ACL tear. That’s a pretty normal thing to have in this league, and players can absolutely come back from it just as strong (if not stronger).

For that reason, Thompson thinks that people shouldn’t be counting the Warriors out. Speaking to ESPN this week, Thompson said that it was premature to assume that the Golden State dynasty is over just because Durant is on the East Coast.

Via ESPN:

“I think that’s a little premature to say there’s no more dynasty. We still have Stephen Curry, 2-time MVP. Draymond Green, Defensive Player of the Year. Adding D’Angelo Russell was an incredible get for us. I mean, the kid’s going to blossom into a superstar in this league.

To say the dynasty is over is a little ignorant because I’m going to come back better and even more athletic. It would not be smart to count the Dubs out.”

There’s a lot of questions surrounding this team. Everyone is getting older, Thompson is coming off of an injury, and they are more top-heavy than ever. But just because the team isn’t a guarantee to win the Finals each and every year doesn’t mean the dynasty is over. A dynasty can still be a run of dominant play mixed with championship wins.

At the end of the day, we should still expect Golden State to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference over the next three or four years. Until they show us otherwise, we have to point out that the dynasty in San Francisco is ongoing.