The Golden State Warriors have created what looks like an unbeatable superteam and irrevocably damaged one of their biggest Western Conference rivals by signing Kevin Durant. It appears another Western competitor will look to do the same to the Warriors next summer.
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Spurs to Reportedly Pursue Curry
Thursday, Aug. 4
SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio's Ric Bucher said Monday he believes the San Antonio Spurs will go "hard" after reigning MVP Steph Curry next summer in free agency:
I think the Spurs are looking at the fact that Kevin Durant came into Golden State and that Kevin Durant may take up some of the superstar space that was previously occupied by Steph Curry, and when Steph Curry becomes a free agent, I think they are going to go hard at Steph Curry. I think they're going to look at Steph and say "they brought in a replacement for you."
Curry, 28, will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career next summer. He averaged 30.1 points, 6.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game during the 2015-16 regular season, leading the Warriors to an NBA-record 73 wins while capturing his second MVP.
There are a few layers to this story worth considering. First, of course, being that the Spurs will no doubt go after Curry next summer. If he winds up being willing to listen to offers, any team that can get a sit-down will do whatever it takes to land him. There is a slight possibility Curry could become a little disenchanted at players like Russell Westbrook getting a renegotiated maximum contract while he's playing for $12.1 million—less than half of his maximum.
Growing pains are coming in Golden State; we've seen far too many so-called "superteams" stumble a bit to think that won't be the case. But unless Curry and Durant have such a toxic relationship that they become bitter rivals—which is unlikely—there's no reason to think the reigning MVP is going anywhere.
Curry was part of the contingent that recruited Durant to Golden State, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. The sales pitch was not one of individual success but of a collective dynasty. Curry has two MVPs. Durant has one. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have All-NBAs to their names. Their pitch to Durant revolved around becoming a historic dynasty of players teaming up in the prime of their careers to dominate the league.
The Warriors did not "replace" Curry behind his back; he actively sought out Durant as a teammate. There's a big difference.
The raise question also isn't much of an issue. Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Leandro Barbosa all departed this summer via trade or free agency—a necessary evil to free up the cap space to sign Durant. Unless they were willing to do the same to give Curry extra money, which would have greatly damaged their title hopes, Curry was never getting a raise this summer.
Durant can also become a free agent in 2017. If Durant/Curry becomes Kobe/Shaq, Kobe/Dwight or Kobe/Anyone Not Named Pau Gasol, it's not Curry who leaves. It's Durant. Curry is the face of the Warriors franchise; Durant is the mercenary brought in to ensure world dominance.
The Spurs (and everyone) may want Curry. The odds of him being willing to leave, though, are almost too astronomical to fathom.
Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.