I cornered Warriors general manager Bob Myers to talk to him about his star player. Not even six months ago, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place with Stephen Curry. He wanted to sign him, but was it wise to pump all that money into a player with a persistent, perhaps career-threatening ankle issue? Is it too precarious to let him play it out and see how his ankle responds, risking he goes off and gets a max contact the Warriors couldn’t match?
In the end, Curry took a discount and Myers took a leap of faith. And now, they’re in the playoffs and Myers looks like a genius.
Q: You said you gave Curry the extension because you believed in him. Why?
You know why I had such a strong belief in that is because of who he is. Usually in life, the people who deserve success and put in all the time— even if you have obstacles and hurdles to overcome — usually it does happen. He happened to have some major hurdles. Not that anybody deserves that, but he didn’t deserve it. He doesn’t deserve it. He handles life the right way, he treats people the right way. So I always felt like a guy like him, he was going to get his opportunity to shine. And he obviously has.”
Q: Should Curry have the ball in his hands more down the stretch?
“He’s making a good case for making game-winning decisions, whether that’s passing the ball or shooting the ball. He’s making a strong case to be that guy. That’s a big crown to wear. They say heavy is the head that wears the crown. That’s a chore. And I think he’s knocking on that door if not already there to be the guy that you say, you make that decision for this team when it matter. Because he’s earned that right. He’s headed in that direction. But time will tell. You have to earn that. You have to succeed in that role, too. I have no reason to doubt he can be that guy. He’s on that way now.”
Q: What do you see is Curry’s ceiling?
“We didn’t put a ceiling on his ability. We didn’t feel like he could only be so good. We feel like with his talent and work ethic, that if he’s healthy he’s not a guy you can cap as far as his potential. It’s unlimited with the skill set he has. We felt like just get healthy and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Q: So you can see him becoming an elite player?
“I think he can because I don’t think he’s reached his peak. I certainly think he can become an A-list guy. His career is on the incline. He hasn’t peaked. He’s not plateauing. He’s not declining. With a guy like that, because he is who he is and he puts in the work, he’s going to get better. It’s just a question of how much better he’s going to get.”
Q: What strides has he made?
“Offensively, he’s tremendously talented. He’s been able to become a competitor. He’s been allowed to play in bigger games, meaningful games. He didn’t necessarily have a chance to do that. He’s doing it now in meaningful games for a winning team, a team going to the playoffs. That always, to me, means more. The area I thought he had to grow in was defensively, which he’s made strides. But he would even acknowledge he’s got more work to do there.”
Q: Has Curry’s season impressed you?
“In the position we’re in, You always hope that your player improves and grows throughout the year. But I would say, even as high as we think he can go, we even sit back and say wow. Watching the performances he puts on, even if you’ve seen him do it practice or thinks like that, it’s still a marvel to watch, some of the things he can do.”
Q: You feel vindicated for signing him to an extension?
Every time you sign a player to an extension, you take a risk. In this situation, a lot of people thought the risk was greater because the history of injury. You’re always taking a risk no matter what when you do an extension, because you don’t have to do it. But in this situation, our thoughts were as an organization — all the way from the ownership on down — was if you’re going to take a risk, this is the person you take it on. But we still didn’t feel like it was a risk because we believed he was going to be healthy. We believed his ankle was going to be fine. That was the belief we had. If we didn’t believe that, we wouldn’t have signed him to the number we did. If we felt like it was a coin flip or he wasn’t going to be healthy, we wouldn’t do it.
Q: Why is he the person you take the risk on?
“As far as my interactions with athletes, as an agent and now on this side, he’s one of the best people if not the best person that I’ve met in my experience in working with the NBA in 15, 16 years. You love to see guys like that succeed. For me it’s fulfilling to see a person who deserves to be successful achieving some success. … He’s a humble guy. He treats people with respect. He doesn’t think he’s better than anybody else. He’s a great teammate. He’s respectful. He’s a husband, father. He’s just a genuine good person. Whether he was in the NBA or not. He just happens to be in the NBA, so he gets a lot of accolades and attention. But if you’re walking down the street, or if he was your realtor or your lawyer or doctor, you’d love the guy. In any walk of life, people like to be around him. He’s very charismatic.”