Stephen Curry ushered in a new era of winning for a franchise that had long been one of the NBA’s doormats, and the Golden State Warriors are rewarding him handsomely for it.
Curry became the first star to sign a contract under the new supermax provision of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, earning a five-year deal worth $201 million, a far cry from the four-year, $44 million deal he just completed while leading the Warriors to their second NBA title in three seasons.
Under the terms of the supermax provision, officially known as the Designated Player Exception, a player is eligible to sign for up to 35 percent of the salary cap if he qualifies for the previous year’s All-NBA team, makes the All-NBA team in two of the three previous seasons or is named Most Valuable Player or Defensive Player of the Year in any of the previous season, as long as he remains with the team that originally drafted him.
The rule was designed to help small-market franchises retain the star players they draft, but Stephen Curry ended up being the first beneficiary in a big way. By staying with Golden State, Curry was able to add a fifth year to his contract as well as take up an extra five percent of the cap, terms that no other franchise but the Warriors could offer.
Even without the additional money, Stephen Curry was never likely to leave the only franchise that he has ever known as a professional. Prior to Curry’s arrival in Oakland, the Warriors were considered one of the worst franchises in the NBA, having won just one playoff series between 1991 and 2010, when they drafted Curry. During that stretch, Golden State missed the playoffs 15 times out of 19 seasons, including a horrendous stretch between 1997 and 2002 that saw the Warriors lose at least 60 games in each of four full seasons.
Since drafting Stephen Curry in 2009, however, Golden State has become a model franchise. After three years of struggles, the Warriors broke through with a playoff appearance in 2013 and ended a 40-year title drought two years later by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals. In 2017, the Warriors came one game short of completing a perfect run through the playoffs, ultimately winning 16 of 17 playoff games en route to another championship.
A large part of that has been Curry. Like his father Dell, Stephen Curry has been one of the league’s deadliest 3-point shooters, shooting a remarkable 43.8 percent from behind the arc in his career, a number ESPN says ranks third in NBA history. He has been named to each of the past four All-NBA teams and was the MVP in both 2015 and 2016, becoming the first unanimous MVP in league history in 2016.
With Curry now signed through 2022, the Warriors can turn their attention elsewhere as they try to stay on top of the NBA. Their next focus will likely be on star Kevin Durant, who opted out of his contract with Golden State to sign a deal that allows the team flexibility to add pieces and chase its third championship in four years. With Curry and Durant both in the fold, the Warriors would likely be heavy favorites in the Western Conference and considered one of the top contenders to add another NBA title to their trophy case.
Readers, what do you think of Curry’s new contract? Is it a deserved honor, or is the price too high? Will the Warriors make it three titles in four years? Sound off in the comments and like and share this story!
Commentary by Dan Angell