Would Charlottean Stephen Curry ever come play for his hometown Bobcats?
During the lockout, when Curry was taking classes at Davidson during the fall of 2011, he told the Observer he has flirted with that thought. But now he’s an emerging star on the Golden State Warriors, and locked up to a four-year, $44 million contract that takes effect next season.
That means the earliest Curry could become a free agent is the summer of 2017, when he will be 29 and eight seasons into his NBA career. He could still be in his prime then, and undoubtedly his presence would sell plenty of Bobcats tickets.
Curry might be the most entertaining player in these playoffs. He has had some fantastic games as the Warriors’ point guard (44 points and 11 assists in Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs). He was essential to the Warriors beating the Denver Nuggets in Round 1, particularly after power forward David Lee went down with a hip injury.
There are solid arguments on both sides of whether Curry could ever be talked into becoming a Bobcat.
To the Bobcats’ benefit, Curry isn’t just from Charlotte, he’s still of Charlotte.
He and his wife own a home in the area and plan to live there each off-season. He is very close to his family, which has deep roots in Charlotte. His father, Dell, a former member of the Charlotte Hornets, is the Bobcats’ television analyst.
By the time Stephen Curry’s upcoming contract extension has expired he will be financially set for life. So where he plays after that could center on where he has the best chance to win.
The Bobcats have had the worst record in the NBA over the past two seasons (28-120) but they’re building around youth (Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo) and might have four first-round picks between the 2013 and 2014 drafts. So the tools are there to be good four seasons from now.
Now compare that to the Warriors.
Curry might be Golden State’s best player, but he’s certainly not their only quality piece. Shooting guard Klay Thompson, who is 23, and small forward Harrison Barnes, who is about to turn 21, are both talented and young. Lee is a better post-up scorer than any player in Bobcats history. The Warriors traded for a former No. 1 overall pick, Andrew Bogut, to fill a hole at center.
Beyond all that, Curry is important, if not crucial, to the Warriors’ future marketing. The franchise plans to move from Oakland to a new waterfront arena to be built in San Francisco.
Curry is wildly popular in the Bay Area. The Warriors’ new ownership group is quite rich – richer than Bobcats owner Michael Jordan – and they undoubtedly see the value, both on and off the court, of retaining Curry.
Those owners awarded Curry that $44 million contract last fall when he was working through a chronically sprained ankle. Now paying him $11 million a season looks like a bargain on the NBA scale.
They will fight hard to keep him.
So the Bobcats will face long odds in 2017. Certainly offering Curry a chance to come home and play should be in their favor, but they will have to convince him that he’s coming home with an opportunity to win an NBA championship.