Golden State Warriors Will Regret and Relish Stephen Curry's Contract Extension
Golden State Warriors GM Bob Myers is either crazy or a genius. According to Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group, third-year guard Stephen Curry has just signed a four-year extension for $44 million. A 44 percent career three-point shooter, an ankle injury limited Curry to just 26 games last season. Naturally, a healthy Curry is the key to a successful Warriors season.
That said, Warriors management should consider themselves lucky. They just got to keep Curry long term at a major discount, as he was set to become a restricted free agent next summer and was a surefire candidate for a max level contract. Instead, he will remain in the Bay Area for the cheaper price of $11 million a year and remain the leader of the Warriors' offense.
Despite his injury issues from last season, this is a very good deal for Golden State. Much like his father, Dell, Curry is a natural shooter with a touch so good that a word to describe it hasn't been invented yet. He has averaged 17.5 points and 5.8 assists per game for his career and has shot an incredible 47 percent from the field.
What makes this an even better decision is that Curry can also play solid defense, having averaged 1.7 steals over his three NBA seasons. He is so slender and quick at 6'3", 185 pounds that he is an absolute pest on both ends of the floor. He can steal the ball away from an opposing player or make a defender look foolish before sinking a shot with ease.
Needless to say, the Warriors would have had a big void to fill if they let the former Davidson star hit the open market.
However, while a good deal on the financial side, this is also a contract that could come back to bite Golden State. While Curry is talented, his ankle injury is a legitimate concern. Besides the fact that he had surgery to repair the ankle, he tweaked the same one during the preseason and missed the Warriors' last two preseason games as a result. Though he insists he is fine, it's still something of a red flag considering how ankle injuries tend to linger for a long time after initially being suffered.
Thus, while it's great that the Warriors were able to find a way to keep Curry aboard long-term, to spend that much money on a player who missed most of last season with an injury is a bit impulsive, especially since we have yet to see Curry in regular season action against teams' best units. Golden State plays the fast-paced Phoenix Suns in Arizona later tonight and for all we know, Curry could suffer another injury (NBA gods forbid) just trying to keep up with everyone. Until he plays a few regular season games, there's no way to tell whether it's a good deal or a bad one.
Will the Warriors regret giving Curry a contract extension?
What Myers should have done is let fate take its course and just let Curry play this season. Granted, today was the last day that he could have offered his star guard a contract extension, but the man is definitely worth a max contract.
Even if Curry agreed to an offer sheet with another team this summer, the Warriors would have been able to match the offer regardless of amount thanks to the Gilbert Arenas rule. Given how valuable Curry is to the team, owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber would have been foolish not to let Myers bring him back.
However, the fact remains that Golden State gave Curry and extension early and there's no going back from it. While team management will surely relish the fact that they were able to keep a star player at a discount, they won't rest easy until the man can prove that his ankle is fully healed and not negatively affecting his game. If he isn't able to return to his old form, then this could turn into the worst kind of impulsive mistake.
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