Golden State Warriors players and coaches celebrate with the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Golden State Warriors made a strong case to be called one of the best teams in NBA history after a near-perfect run through the playoffs resulted in their second title in three years.
The scary part for the NBA’s 29 other teams? This may just be the beginning.
That is because the Warriors boast an intimidating starting lineup featuring four All-Stars in their 20s who are likely to be with the team for years to come.
Two-time reigning league MVP Stephen Curry is expected to sign the richest contract in NBA history this offseason as the league’s best three-point marksman will be eligible for a five-year deal worth an estimated $207 million.
“I’m just excited to do something special,” Curry said during the presentation of the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy on Monday in Oakland after his team beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. “I’m ready to do it again.”
If so he will have help from shooting guard Klay Thompson and do-it-all power forward Draymond Green, who are already locked into long-term contracts with the Warriors.
And then there is Kevin Durant. The 7-foot (2.13 m) small forward and 2017 Finals MVP has said that after his controversial decision leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the Warriors last offseason, he is not eager to move again.
Durant is so dedicated to winning multiple championships that he is reportedly considering taking less money from the team in order to free up space to re-sign key reserves like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala.
That all spells trouble for the rest of the league, who saw the Warriors capture a title in 2015, win a record-setting 73 games the next regular season before Durant moved to the Bay Area and the team became a juggernaut.
“They’re going to be around for a while,” Cavaliers forward LeBron James said after suffering his second Finals defeat in three years to a Warriors team that went 16-1 in the playoffs.
“Pretty much all their big-name guys are in their 20s, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.”
And the team’s coaching staff is equally formidable.
After being sidelined for part of last season and again during the 2017 playoffs with back pain, head coach Steve Kerr returned during the Finals and said he intends to coach “for a long time.”
General Manager Bob Myers, who helped assemble the Warriors lineup after the franchise spent years as the league’s laughing stock, and savvy owner Joe Lacob fill out the rest of the team.
The big question this offseason is what, if anything, will contenders like Cleveland, San Antonio and Boston do to counter the champion Warriors.
Some reports have suggested James, the best player on the planet, may head to California to join the Lakers or Clippers in 2018, likely bringing talented players along in an effort to topple the Warriors if the Cavaliers fall short again next year.
One thing is clear – if no one can assemble a truly special team, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy could very well reside in the Bay Area for years to come.
“After the parade, the narrative will shift to ‘So, what does the league plan to do about this?'” wrote Ray Ratto, a veteran Bay Area sports columnist.
“Right now, the only answer seems to be ‘not a damned thing.’ Because that’s the only answer that makes sense. This is Golden State’s era.” — By Rory Carroll | OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
Warriors finalize signings of Curry, Durant and others
FILE PHOTO: Jun 12, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game five of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
(The Sports Xchange) – The Golden State Warriors announced they have re-signed free agents Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and David West, making official what had been reported over the past several weeks.
The Warriors did not disclose details of the agreements, but the terms were reported by various media outlets.
Curry agreed to a five-year, $201 million super-max deal shortly after the NBA’s free agency period began.
Durant agreed to a two-year deal worth approximately $53 million.
Iguodala reached agreement on a three-year, $48 million contract, Pachulia agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, Livingston signed a three-year $24 million deal, and West signed a one-year contract.
NBA: Cavs target George to challenge Warriors dominance
FILE PHOTO: Apr 29, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) celebrates after scoring against the Toronto Raptors during the second half in game six of the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters
Fresh off their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly trying to bring Paul George over from the Indiana Pacers to add firepower and defense to the Eastern Conference champs.
George, a 27-year-old four-time All-Star, is a highly sought after target in the NBA this offseason and combining him with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving could produce a viable challenger to the dominant Warriors next season.
ESPN reported Monday on a possible three-way deal that would see the Cavs send forward Kevin Love to the Denver Nuggets, the Nuggets send several young players to the Pacers, and George forming a new Big Three in Cleveland with James and Irving.
“This blockbuster trade from the Cavaliers standpoint is all determined by what the Golden State Warriors did in the NBA Finals,” ESPN pundit Chris Haynes said on Monday.
Earlier this month the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in five games to claim their second championship over Cleveland in three years.
“The roster as structured right now, (the Cavs) don’t feel like they have the talent and depth to contend with the Warriors,” he added.
The sticking point in the deal is that the Nuggets are not yet willing to part with either of their two best players – 20-year-old guard Jamal Murray and Serbian big man Nikola Jokić – but an agreement could still be reached, Haynes said.
A team that would suffer if George went to Cleveland is the Los Angeles Lakers, who were hoping to nab George to serve as a leader in their locker room, which is budding with young talent.
George, who can become a free agent after next season, had previously expressed interest in returning to LA, where he is originally from, but may not be quick to change teams again if the Cavs move takes place and proves successful.
“If the Cleveland Cavaliers win a title and dethrone the Warriors, Paul George really has to consider his initial basis of trying to get to LA,” Haynes said.
“This is going to be a nightmare for the Lakers and could change the entire look of free agency next season.”
Whether Cleveland is successful in bringing in George or not, the team will also pursue other big names around the Association this offseason including sharp-shooting forward Carmelo Anthony, who may be freed from his New York Knicks deal.
“If things work out in the Cavaliers favor, they will have the firepower necessary to feel like they can contend with the Golden State Warriors,” Haynes said. — By Rory Carroll
(Editing by Larry Fine)
Warriors’ Durant named Most Valuable Player of NBA Finals
Jun 12, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the fourth quarter in game five of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors hoping to win an elusive title and on Monday he not only reached his goal but was also named the unanimous Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals.
Durant, in his first season with the Warriors, led the way in a 4-1 series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers to capture his maiden NBA title and the team’s second in three seasons.
The 28-year-old American averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the best-of-seven Finals, which the Warriors wrapped up in five games.
To win his first NBA title, Durant had to overcome Cavaliers forward LeBron James, whose former Miami Heat team defeated Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 Finals.
“He’s the only person that I was looking at since 2012,” Durant said after the game. “I knew it was going to be a battle I just tried to challenge him … you can’t stop the guy. But we battled.
“I told him we’re tied up now and we’re going to try to do this thing again but I’m going to celebrate this one tonight.” — By Rory Carroll | OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA
(Additional reporting by Jahmal Corner; Editing by Frank Pingue)