Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry has ended the speculation he might test the free agency waters after the 2021-2022 season by signing a four-year contract extension worth $215 million dollars. The agreement guarantees the Warriors core of Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green will remain together as the Warriors assemble younger complementary pieces around them in pursuit of a return to the league’s elite teams.
The Warriors approach is markedly different to that of their Southern California rival Los Angeles Lakers, who are presently filling out their roster around LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the recently acquired Russell Westbrook by bringing in veteran players who, while on the downside of their careers, presumably still have enough left to be solid role players. Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard lead this group, Anthony’s signing being of particular relief to James as he is now no longer the oldest player on the team aside from Bugs Bunny.
Back to the Warriors. Heading into the recently concluded draft, speculation was rife that Golden State was looking to package its two lottery picks plus rookie center James Wiseman in a trade for … well, something or other. The Warriors chose to stand pat, keeping Wiseman who despite an inconsistent rookie season marred by injury showed frequent flashes of why he was worth the number two selection in the 2020 draft. While definitely a work in progress, the Warriors were wise to keep Wiseman and let him develop under the tutelage of Green and company.
It appears that this year’s first selection by the Warriors and seventh pick overall forward Jonathan Kuminga fits the same mold, as he is loaded with raw talent but needs quality coaching and experience in order to reach his potential. Guard Moses Moody, the Warriors’ second pick and fourteenth pick overall, has a bit more polish than Kuminga, but figures to spend much of his time on the bench learning by example from Curry and Thompson as they simultaneously run the floor and shoot out the lights.
With a rejuvenated Warriors, the Lakers building for a championship or bust season, and the Clippers, Jazz, and Suns not going away, the NBA Western Conference figures to be great fun next year. For those of us still watching, that is.