It’s been less than one month since Kevin Durant made his shocking free agency decision to join forces with the two-time defending Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors. Yet despite him having not stepped on the court with reigning back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry, something that won’t officially take place until October, NBA executives are already looking forward to a possible disconnect between the two superstars, this according to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher.
On Wednesday night, Bucher reported that one NBA team in particular is gearing up for that moment.
An unnamed NBA organization is planning to “poach” Curry in the event of a possible rift with Durant, who signed a two-year, $54 million contract with Golden State back in July.
“There are 29 teams hoping the chemistry between Kevin Durant and Steph Curry is poisonous,” Bucher said Wednesday. “But there is one team that is planning for it. I’ve been told by one of the league’s title contenders that they hope to poach Curry. They see KD taking the last-minute shots that were once Curry’s domain. Their pitch will be, ‘Come to us and you can be the man once more.'”
Curry, who can become an unrestricted free agent following the 2016-2017 season, will almost certainly entertain numerous offers from various NBA teams who look to add the 28-year-old point guard to their roster.
But Curry, whom the Warriors are keeping at a bargain between $11 and $12 million a year, acknowledged last year that his pending free agency is something he is not necessarily interested in thinking about.
“As I am thinking right now, free agency isn’t really appealing to me because I love where I’m at, love the organization I’m playing for and the Bay Area is home for me and my family,” Curry Sporting News. “I think the best approach for me is to try and stay as in the moment as possible.”
If he does decide to leave Oakland, Curry can sign a five-year max contract that would pay him in excess of $30 million per season with the NBA’s salary cap rising once again.
Whether he decides to leave Golden State or not, Curry could potentially make a near $20 million dollar jump from his current $12,112,400 million salary in 2017-2018, which would be fourth on the Warriors behind Durant ($27,734,405 million), Klay Thompson ($17,827,150 million) and Draymond Green ($17,469,565 million).
When two of the top three players in the world and four NBA All-Stars compete and start on the same team, differences and struggles are bound to occur. But Curry’s situation is different. He has been the catalyst for the Warriors and their remarkable run atop the NBA the past two season, capped off by another record breaking season both by Curry and the team.
A 73-9 record put the Warriors in discussion with the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls as the greatest team in league history, while Curry repeated as the league’s Most Valuable Player and shattered his previous record of 286 made 3-pointers in 2015 with 402 made last season.
It’s easy for teams to make an offer to Curry. He will field them, just as all other free agents do. But Kevin Durant came to Golden State knowing that the Warriors still belonged to Curry, and any criticism and breach in their relationship will be thrown Durant’s way. His contract is for two years, but a player option for the second year was agreed upon when it was announced this past Independence Day.
Durant’s tenure in Oakland can be one-and-done, and his arrival to the Bay Area can come and go as quickly as his possible departure.
All control is in Curry’s hands. But no other team, with or without Durant, will provide him the opportunity to win championships more than the Warriors. It’s the franchise he has helped developed as a marquee organization over the past few years. He and Durant will be evaluated under a microscope every time they step on the floor.
In the end, it will be his to lose.
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