For the first time in a (very) long time, the Golden State Warriors are not the betting favorites to win the upcoming NBA title. That comes with the territory when realizing Kevin Durant is in Brooklyn and Klay Thompson is recovering from knee surgery but, beyond that, the Warriors are also operating in a new world that doesn’t include fixtures like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. With that as the backdrop, Marcus Thompson of The Athletic caught up with Stephen Curry about the new terrain and he’s seemingly excited about a “new challenge.”
“It will be fun for everybody,” Curry said of his new reality. “It’s a new challenge. I love the talent we’ve got. We just don’t know what it’s going to look like because we’ve never done it before.”
Curry and Draymond Green are the returning pieces of Golden State’s famed core and, even with Thompson likely to return by the end of the 2019-20 campaign, there will be plenty of attention paid to the duo. Before the season even starts, however, there is plenty of buzz about Green’s contract status and the do-it-all big man’s contract will expire after he earns about $18.5 million for the 2019-20 campaign.
In speaking with Thompson, though, Curry is noted as saying that “the Warriors need Draymond Green” and seemingly putting a bit of pressure on Warriors’ brass to ante up when the time is right, whether that be now in the form of a contract extension or a big payday next summer.
“I feel like he’s proven how valuable he is to a championship team and can find ways to get even better,” Curry said. “They know what’s up.”
Green isn’t a traditional superstar in that he doesn’t fill the box score from a scoring standpoint and, at the age of 29, there will be some concern with his next contract. After all, players of his stature and build often don’t age gracefully, particularly when considering Green’s sometimes wayward jump shot. On the flip side, it is well-known in league circles that Green is the X-factor of Golden State’s defense and, on the other end of the floor, his ability as a facilitator often keeps the wheels greased with the shooting of Curry and Thompson on the edges.
The Warriors are essentially done with the team-building process for the 2019-20 campaign, with the league’s “hard cap” looming after the acquisition of another high-profile talent in D’Angelo Russell. Moving forward, however, the team remains centered on Curry, Thompson and Green, and Golden State’s MVP isn’t shying away from the fact that the Warriors wouldn’t be the Warriors without Green doing what he does.