SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers is “pretty confident” that he’ll be able to sign star guard Stephen Curry to an extension this summer after the 33-year-old led the league in scoring by averaging 32 points a game and was a top-three finalist for the MVP award.
“I don’t see any reason not to be optimistic,” Myers said during an end-of-the-season video conference on Monday. “He seems like he’s motivated; we’re motivated. I would say pretty confident we’ll get something done.”
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted, Curry’s new extension would be record-setting: He would become the first player in NBA history to sign two separate deals worth over $200 million. Curry became the first player to sign a supermax extension in 2017 while inking a deal worth $201 million over five years. He is now eligible to sign a four-year $215.4 million extension that would keep him under contract through the 2025-26 season.
“Obviously we want Steph back in the worst way,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “There’s no reason to think why that won’t happen. We’re excited about that. We’re excited about next season. You know, coming back with Draymond [Green] and Steph playing at such a high level to finish the season and to get Klay [Thompson] back and to have the opportunity to fortify our roster, to see these young guys emerge, it’s all very exciting.”
One of the reasons the Warriors remain so excited is that they are confident that Thompson, who missed his second straight season after suffering ACL and Achilles injuries, will return to the floor. As Myers pointed out, it doesn’t appear likely that Thompson will be ready for the start of the regular season.
“I don’t know that it’ll be the start of the year,” Myers said. “We’ll see more as camp gets closer. When I say start of the year, I mean Game 1. I don’t know if that’s realistic or not. That’ll be less than a year. … I don’t know what date the season opens up, but I think that’ll be 11 months. I don’t know that that’s realistic.
“I want to talk about Klay a lot, but I’m reluctant because I don’t want to use that as an excuse. I don’t want people to think, when Klay comes back, everything is going to be great. As great as he is, and it will help a lot, we have to look at our team and say Klay will be a huge addition, but there’s other areas where we need to improve on as well. But I don’t know exactly when it’ll be.”
Myers said a key for him heading into the offseason is adding veterans to the roster. Aside from Curry, who Myers said played with a “small hairline” fracture of his tailbone down the stretch, and Green, the Warriors didn’t have a strong veteran presence like they did off the bench in years past.
“I do know we need veterans, and the one area I can say without kind of equivocating is we have to add some veterans in free agency,” he said. “We just have to. We’re well aware of that. We’ll try to do it. We actually tried to do it last year with a few guys, so it wasn’t as if that mindset didn’t exist. It doesn’t matter, nobody cares, but we were in second place with quite a few guys that I think were veteran, could have helped, but they chose to go to a team after Klay’s injury that they thought they could win it more, and that’s fair to them.”
Myers offered an explanation for why the Warriors struggled to add a greater veteran presence compared to other teams in recent years.
“Some even said, ‘Had Klay not gotten hurt I would have come,'” Myers said. “Who knows if that’s true or not. But that’s the thing we hope we’ve accomplished in the last couple months, is proven to some of those kind of guys, I think the Warriors can win. They have to believe that. I hope we’ve showed that we’re close. But that’s what you get when you’re looking at a vet minimum guy or a vet taxpayer that’s maybe taking less money, is can I win with the Warriors? There’s no doubt they like playing with Steph and they love Steve, and I think they view our organization as one that takes care of its players.”
One of the players the Warriors appear to want to take care of most is 20-year-old center James Wiseman. After Wiseman’s up-and-down rookie season that ended abruptly after he suffered a meniscus tear in his right knee in April, Myers made it clear that he did not plan to deal the young center during the offseason.
“I think he can help us,” Myers said. “I expect him to be on the team next year. We don’t want to trade James Wiseman. I think he’s a tremendous talent, and he was put in a position where, again, the guy is taking hopefully all of his lumps early in his career, but I think he can be very helpful to us in the future. I think he can be helpful in the present.”
Myers also said that Kelly Oubre Jr. “did make it clear he’d like to be here” in their exit interview, but Kerr also noted that while he liked Oubre and hoped he would return, the swingman would be doing so off the bench.
“Klay is going to start when he gets back,” Kerr said. “So would Kelly be interested in coming off the bench? That’s a question only he can answer. He’ll weigh his options, we’ll weigh ours, and we’ll see where it all goes. But really like Kelly, really think he’s got great potential to be very helpful on our team.”
Kerr also said that despite the painful losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies during the play-in tournament, he is hopeful the concept stays in the game because he believes the tournament is good for the league.
“I joked that — a month ago — I would hate it if we lost and love it if we won, but honestly I love it,” Kerr said. “I think it’s great. I think it’s great for the league, and what’s great for the league should be more important than being worried about the eighth seed missing out on the playoffs. I think it should be something we stay with. There was more interest in more games down the stretch than there has been in a long time. There were some mini-races within teams trying to avoid seventh. I thought it was fascinating as a fan.”
As for his own team’s future, while he’s optimistic that his group can turn things around quickly, he agreed with Green’s assessment after Friday’s loss to the Grizzlies that the organization was “a ways away” from another title.
“I actually agree with that,” Kerr said. “I think it would be arrogant for us having just missed the playoffs to say, ‘Hey, we’re right there.’ We’re a ways away, but we like the path that we’re on. We love the fact that … we’ve got Steph and Draymond playing at a high level, we’ve got young players who have emerged.
“We know James is going to be better with a year under his belt. We’ve got a couple first-round picks; we’ve got free agency coming up. Most importantly, we’ve got Klay coming back. You throw all that together and I like our chances to make a big leap. But no, we can’t sit here and honestly say we’re close to a championship because Draymond is right: We’ve got to make the playoffs first before we say that.”