Stephen Curry is a top three player in the NBA and he is due to become a free agent in the summer. However, it is likely that Curry is staying with the Golden State Warriors. I mean, why would he want to leave? The Warriors have one of the most loyal fan bases in the NBA, the team has put together a tremendous roster that will compete for championships the next several years. Oh, we must not forget that Curry would be losing out on a ton of money if he leaves Golden State in free agency. If Curry stays, he will receive a contract north of $200 million and if he somehow decides to leave, Curry will have to take a significant pay cut.
For fun, let us assume that Curry does leave Golden State. After all, Curry himself did state that curve-balls happen all the time, meaning you never know what can happen in free agency until the contract is actually signed. Maybe Curry wants to go somewhere where he is back to being the main man, instead of sharing spotlight with Kevin Durant. For this article, we will focus on eight potential new teams for Curry if in fact he does decide to test the market. We will also discuss the benefits for Curry in playing for those teams.
16. Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers are definitely on the rise. They have young stars in Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, and Dario Saric. If Embiid can find a way to stay healthy, this team could be in the playoffs as soon as the 2017-18 season and Also remember that the 76ers have a ton of draft assets. If they are able to ship these picks with maybe one of their young players to acquire a solid veteran, they will become an intriguing option for not just Curry, but many free agents. The 6ers will also have the cap space to pay Curry a max deal and maybe even other free agents.
15. Benefits of Playing in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is a tremendous sports town and they are starving for a winner. Could you imagine how popular Curry would become in Philly? He would be the king of the city and this popularity would only increase if he is able to lead the 76ers back into the playoffs, which would be a given with the young and upcoming players they have. Sure, they may not contend for a championship in the first season, but they would not be far off with Curry.
Curry would also be able to get away from the tough Western Conference and move into the much weaker Eastern Conference. Yes, he would have to play LeBron in the playoffs, but LeBron is not getting any younger. Outside of LeBron, who is there to compete with?
14. Charlotte Hornets
Many people believe the Charlotte Hornets are the only team with a chance of taking Curry away from Golden State. Quite frankly, the only reason I have Charlotte on this list is because of the rumors/reports that Curry is interested in playing for the Hornets one day.
From a basketball standpoint, I just do not see a good fit for Curry. The Hornets just are not very good and by the looks of it, they will have to get creative to make a play for Curry. They have big contracts for players like Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Marvin Williams that are not expiring any time soon. Also remember, that Charlotte’s best player is a point guard. So yes, you will add Curry, but lose your other best player that is on a cheap contract. Hey, Curry would at least increase the ticket sales for the Hornets though.
13. Benefits of Playing in Charlotte
As I just wrote, there are not many benefits for Curry to play in Charlotte from a basketball standpoint. The team is not very good and at best, I see Curry making them a playoff team that loses in the first or second round.
However, from a family standpoint there are a lot of benefits for Curry. Remember, Curry spent a lot of his youth/teenage years in Charlotte. He has even said that he will always have an attachment to the city. Curry’s family also lives in Charlotte, so the chance to be close to them can be a game changer. Curry also met his wife in Charlotte, so maybe she would like to go back to Charlotte? The family reasons are endless, but like I said I do not see it for basketball reasons.
12. Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers have been trying to build a championship team ever since Doc Rivers arrived. On paper, they have one of the highest amounts of talent in the league. They have also become one of the better regular season teams over the past couple of seasons. However, they have not been able to put it together in the post-season for a variety of reasons such as bad play, injuries, or poor match-ups. Now with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick all free agents, the Clippers probably realize this team is not going to win a title.
The Clippers will have some money to play with and maybe they decide they need a point guard more suited for today’s NBA and let Paul walk. Curry is also younger and would extend the Clippers window for a championship. Not likely, but you never know.
11. Benefits of Playing in Los Angeles
Are there any negatives of playing professional basketball in California? The weather is great and people love basketball in Los Angeles. Curry also will get to stay in the same state, which means he will not have to move his family very far.
From a basketball standpoint, Curry playing for the Clippers is intriguing. The Clippers are built to win now so Curry will not have to worry about a rebuild. In addition, Curry with Griffin and Jordan would be a great fit, in my opinion. I can just imagine Curry getting wide open looks in transition after Griffin gets a defensive rebound and pushes the ball up the court, similar to what Draymond Green does. Also, Curry will get a ton of open looks from Jordan’s offensive rebounding. Obviously not as good as Golden State, but a good potential fit.
10. New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans showed us that they are serious about trying to improve their team when they traded for DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins may not be the best locker room leader, but his skill and talent is undeniable. Cousins can give you 20 and 10 on any given night. He has also developed a three pointer, which is huge in today’s NBA. Then there is that guy Anthony Davis, one of the best players in the league.
So what is missing for these Pelicans? Shooting. Enter, Curry. If the Pelicans are able to land a shooter like Curry, I would immediately put them in the contender category. Could you imagine how good a team with two legitimate big men and a superstar point guard would be? It is almost like a pick your poison on defense. The Pelicans can clear the money for Curry and even if it is unlikely, they should try.
9. Benefits of Playing in New Orleans
How great would it feel for a point guard to have two dominant big men on their team. The special part about Cousins and Davis is that they are not the “old school” type big men. They are able to step outside and shoot jumpers as well as be effective down low. Thus, teams will not be able to foul them intentionally to put them at the line. Furthermore, Curry will not have to worry about rebounding with the two headed monster there and he will have solid help defense.
The other benefit of playing in New Orleans is that Curry would be familiar with Alvin Gentry. Gentry was in Golden State before taking the Pelicans head coaching job and Curry would not have to leave the offensive system he loves in Golden State. It would be very similar. A great fit if Curry leaves.
8. Toronto Raptors
With the Toronto Raptors facing the possibility of Kyle Lowry walking in free agency this summer (he’s already said he will opt out of his current contract), they are going to need to consider other options at point guard. Perhaps the Raptors also realize that they are not true contenders with their current roster and decide to let Lowry walk anyway. Either way, if Lowry walks the Raptors are going to need a replacement and who better for that than Curry?
Curry could be a perfect complement to DeRozan. DeRozan can continue to attack the paint and play the mid-range game, while Curry does damage from the outside. Curry could also be the piece that helps the Raptors get over the hump, specifically the Cleveland Cavaliers.
7. Benefits of Playing in Toronto
There are many benefits for Curry if he ever decides to play in Toronto. Let us start with family reasons. Curry spent some of his youth living in Toronto, so it is not like he would be unfamiliar with the area. Also, Curry’s wife is Canadian, so I am sure she would not mind moving back to her home and native land.
There are also benefits from a business standpoint. Most people like to disregard Toronto, but the fact is that Toronto is the third biggest market. Could you also imagine how popular Curry would be across Canada? The Raptors fans would love him and his merchandise would go through the roof. Finally, from a basketball standpoint, the Raptors are a good team and Curry would put them over the top.
6. Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks proved this season that they are a team on the rise. They have the future best player in the Greek Freak on their team and they also have some other nice young players in Jabari Parker, and Thon Maker. I know you are thinking I forgot Malcolm Brogden, but I did not. It is just that with Curry, the Bucks really would not have a need for Brogden, unless he is okay with playing as a back up for next couple of seasons.
If the Bucks are able to upgrade their point guard position, they would take that next step a whole lot faster. Could you imagine if Curry was playing alongside the Greek Freak? This team would be unstoppable in transition. Just think about how many lob passes Curry throws to Javale McGee…now imagine the Greek Freak.
5. Benefits of Playing in Milwaukee
Like I said, Milwaukee is a team on the rise. With Curry, the Bucks are the best team in the East. Therefore, Curry will not have to worry about going to a team that is not ready to compete for a championship, or to a team that is in a rebuilding situation. Add in the experience the Bucks got in this year’s playoffs and the Bucks are a piece or two away from being legitimate contenders.
Curry will also help form the NBA’s new best one-two punch with the Greek Freak. The thought of these two on the fast-break together is scary. The Greek Freak is basically a one man fast break on his own, but with a shooter like Curry, you would not be able to stop them. Finally, the chance to play under a legendary point guard should be appealing to Curry.
4. Miami Heat
Even without Curry, the Miami Heat are not that far off from being one of the better teams in the East. We also know the Heat are going to be aggressive this summer to improve their roster whether Curry tests the market or not. However, if Curry does test free agency the first thing Pat Riley should do is set up a meeting with Curry. I would really like the chances of Curry going to Miami because it seems that Miami has become one of the more popular destinations for players.
Remember, cap space will not be an issue for the Heat, especially if Chris Bosh’s contract will no longer count against the cap. Imagine a lineup featuring Curry, Whiteside, and potentially a revived Dion Waiters.
3. Benefits of Playing in Miami
What is not beneficial about playing for the Miami Heat? They have one of the best owners in the NBA, one of the best executives, and the Heat also have a top five coach in the NBA in Erik Spoelstra. Nothing is more important in Miami than basketball, meaning that the organization is about winning and not other politics. We also know Pat Riley will put the right pieces around Curry, so Curry will remain in a competitive situation.
Remember, Florida is also only one of the few states without a state income tax. Suddenly that big pay cut to leave Golden State is not looking so bad anymore. After all, in California you have to pay pretty high taxes on both endorsement and NBA deals. Unlikely, but again, intriguing.
2. San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are the best organization in basketball and it is not close. As discussed, lot of people say Charlotte is the team that could pry Curry away from Golden State, but I say do not overlook the Spurs.
The Spurs are in need of a new starting point guard. Tony Parker is nowhere near what he once was and his decline has been showing the last few seasons. I know the Spurs are loyal to their players, but Parker simply cannot compete with the stacked Western Conference point guards. All of the deep playoff runs and international competitions have clearly taken a toll on Parker’s body. I also think that Patty Mills is more suited for a backup scoring role. So San Antonio, try your luck.
1. Benefits of Playing in San Antonio
As I just discussed, San Antonio is the best organization in the NBA. What player would not want to play for them? The Spurs also have the best coach in the NBA by far in Gregg Popovich. Oh yeah, there is also already a top five player on their team in Kawhi Leonard. Remember how I discussed Milwaukee having the best one-two punch if Curry went there? Well the same can be said about Curry and Leonard, if Curry decided to join the Spurs.
Similar to Miami, there would be no state income tax if Curry decides to take his talents to Texas, so really the only concern I see Curry having with the Spurs is Pop’s longevity. Is Pop going to retire soon? If so, then all bets are off on this fit, but based on reports, it does look like Pop is planning on stick around for a while more.
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