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Kevin Durant Watch: How Warriors’ top competitors are looking

Golden State Warriors' Andre Iguodala (9) guards Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) in the second quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, May 26, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

#DurantWatch has officially begun and the early leaders appear to be the Warriors and Miami, though Kevin Durant can’t take meetings until Friday.

Still, the race is on to pry the former MVP away from the only NBA franchise he’s known in an effort to form some sort of superteam.

The Warriors’ chances were expertly broke down by our own Tim Kawakami this morning, which you can read here.

How about the other teams, you ask? Let’s check out what people are saying about each squad’s chances.

Miami Heat

Pat Riley looks to be working his usual magic in the Durant sweepstakes, called one of the two likeliest landing pads along with the Warriors. Obviously, Miami fans are going wild over the possibility — even ESPN’s Dan Le Batard.

Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC faithful are clinging to the thought that the Thunder’s near-defeat of Golden State will entice Durant. His meetings in New York, however, make it clear he’s considering all options.

Boston Celtics

Though they aren’t among the top two reported contenders, the Celtics appear to be the most optimistic outsiders. Boston can offer the youth movement, cap space and overall tradition to lure Durant.

L.A. Clippers

They were late arrivals to the rumor mill, but the Clippers may be the likeliest to work out a sign-and-trade with Oklahoma City, considering they could send home native son Blake Griffin. As is often noted, L.A. is also an ideal destination for anyone looking to boost their promotional income.

San Antonio Spurs

After pulling off a free-agent coup by signing LaMarcus Aldridge last summer, San Antonio might be back in business by trying to reel in Durant. “Hey, it’s just a short seven-hour drive back to Oklahoma!”

New York Knicks

Not among his six meetings but still on his radar, reportedly, the Knicks are a dark horse for Durant. But since New York is no longer the epicenter of hoops, that may be a reach, even with Carmelo Anthony in his ear and Derrick Rose now on the roster.

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Gary Payton: Warriors’ Stephen Curry shouldn’t have been voted first unanimous MVP in NBA history

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses with his back-to-back MVP trophies at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Curry was the first player in the NBA to be unanimously voted MVP. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry poses with his back-to-back MVP trophies at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Curry was the first player in the NBA to be unanimously voted MVP. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Gary Payton, the Hall of Fame point guard and Oakland native, said Thursday he has an issue with voters who gave the Warriors’ Stephen Curry the honor of becoming the NBA’s first unanimous MVP.

“People have to understand we don’t have an issue with Stephen Curry,” Payton told SiriusXM. “Stephen Curry doesn’t vote for himself. You had 131 people that voted for him. I’ve got an issue with them.”

Payton listed to Sports Illustrated previous MVP winners Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

“I think all of them guys were unanimous decisions, too,” he said. “It just happened in an era that, it went his way. He was the first one to do it. I commend him again of what he’s accomplished, but you gotta think about who were voting for Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem and all of them during their time, why in the heck would they not give all their votes to them guys at that time when they were doing it?”

A vote of NBA players decided the MVP up until the 1980-81 season when balloting was done by a panel of sports writers and broadcasters from the United States and Canada.

“We forgot Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50 points and 30 rebounds,” Payton told SiriusXM. “You didn’t think he was a unanimous decision? Who else ever did that and scored 100 points in one game? And he didn’t even win it (in 1962). That’s what I’m trying to say.

“You look at Michael Jordan. When they set the record at 72-10 in 1996, he didn’t get all the votes. So you’re trying to tell me these reporters or whoever’s voting that you and them guys back then, they didn’t know that he was a unanimous decision? Don’t blame that on Stephen Curry. Blame that on them reporters.”

Payton told the radio station that the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard and Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, who finished second and third in the voting, deserved first-place votes.

“If you look at LeBron, what he does for his team, he does everything,” Payton said. “I still think he’s the best all-around basketball player. As we say, Stephen Curry was the best player this year but I’m saying all-around – who gives you assists, who gives you rebounding, who gives you points, who does a lot of things for his team to have it? If you take LeBron off that team, I don’t think Cleveland is a good team like that. If you Curry off of it, uh, right now I don’t know. They probably would win games. They wouldn’t have won 73, but they would win a lot of basketball games.”

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LeBron James more valuable to his team, NBA than Stephen Curry, according to Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) and Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) exchange some words in low tone toward the end of the fourth quarter of a NBA game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. Warriors 112-94. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) and Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (23) exchange some words in low tone toward the end of the fourth quarter of a NBA game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. Warriors 112-94. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said Thursday he believes LeBron James is more valuable to his team and the NBA than two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry.

“I would have said that Michael Jordan was the MVP every year of his prime, and I would tell you that LeBron is as well,” Griffin told the Jim Rome Show on Thursday. “If V is valuable, I don’t see any way that there’s a player that means more to our league or to his individual team than LeBron does or than Michael did. But I certainly think the seasons that Steph has put together are historically good. He’s a player that has taken a team to an unprecedented record and a championship, and he deserves all the accolades he gets, but in terms of value to a league, I think LeBron is the face of this league just as Michael Jordan was.

“I think so just in terms of the word ‘value,’ and again, we can get into a semantics question there, but I think if we’re really talking about who’s carrying a franchise and a league, I think LeBron does that, and our record without LeBron on the floor is not terribly good. He’s a guy who transcends every analytic metric you could ever use.”

Griffin’s comments came a day after Curry on the court was presented the MVP trophy after becoming the first player to win it by a unanimous vote and James following a third-place finish congratulated the Warriors star.

“I think he definitely deserved it,” James told reporters. “Obviously you look at his numbers, you look at their success. But I think there’s a lot of valuable guys in our league that add value to their team.

“You look at Steph’s numbers. I mean, he averaged 30 (points per game). I think he led the league in steals. He was 90-50-40 (percent on free throws, field goals and 3-point attempts), and they won 73 wins. Can you have really any debate over that really when it comes to that award? But when you talk about most valuable, then you can have a different conversation. But take nothing away from him. He’s definitely deserving of that award for sure.”

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Stephen Curry’s family offers emotional congratulations on unanimous MVP award

Stephen Curry makes his whole family laugh, from left, sister Sydel Curry, wife Ayesha Alexander, daughter Riley Curry, mother Sonya and Father Dell during his acceptance speech for the 2014-15 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player at the Oakland Convention Center in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, May 4, 2015.  (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

Stephen Curry makes his whole family laugh, from left, sister Sydel Curry, wife Ayesha Alexander, daughter Riley Curry, mother Sonya and Father Dell during his acceptance speech for the 2014-15 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player at the Oakland Convention Center in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, May 4, 2015. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

Sydel Curry was emotional upon learning her older brother, Stephen, was the NBA’s first unanimous MVP.

The problem was that the Elon volleyball player was in the middle of preparing for final exams.

“In my bathroom crying like I don’t have a presentation in 10 min lol,” Sydel tweeted. “Man I wish I was in the bay with my fam celebrating. This is amazin.”

The Curry family is expected to join Stephen today at his 2 p.m. press conference at Oracle Arena.

Family was one of the things Curry focused on at last year’s festivities. His voice cracked as he spoke to his father about how meaningful it was to follow in Dell’s footsteps.

“Congrats to my MVP @stephencurry30 on being named the leagues MVP for a second year in a row,” Curry’s wife, Ayesha, wrote on Instragram. “And unanimously at that… I am so proud of you my love. You deserve this.

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Warriors’ Stephen Curry out for Game 3, ‘maybe a slight chance’ of playing Game 4 against Portland Trail Blazers

Golden State Warriors' Festus Ezeli (31) sits next to teammate Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) on the bench as they play the Portland Trail Blazers in the second quarter of Game 2 during the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Festus Ezeli (31) sits next to teammate Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) on the bench as they play the Portland Trail Blazers in the second quarter of Game 2 during the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Stephen Curry will not play in Game 3 against the Portland Trail Blazers and has “maybe a slight chance” of returning for Game 4, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday.

“He hasn’t practiced with us yet, so Game 3 tomorrow, he’s not going to play,” Kerr said on The Dan Patrick Show. “He’s getting better every day, but until he’s out on the floor with our team and scrimmaging and we’re seeing him move, and trainers say, ‘it’s a go,’ we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. But no way tomorrow, and I would say maybe a slight chance on Monday if he gets great work in the next few days.”

Kerr on Thursday had left the door open to Curry returning for the Western Conference Finals as the series shifts to Portland. He said it was conceivable Curry could still test his sprained right knee before Game 3, practice Sunday and play in Game 4 on Monday.

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Knee injury for Warriors’ Stephen Curry less serious than the one father Dell Curry is recovering from

Stephen Curry makes his whole family laugh, from left, sister Sydel Curry, wife Ayesha Alexander, daughter Riley Curry, mother Sonya and Father Dell during his acceptance speech for the 2014-15 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player at the Oakland Convention Center in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, May 4, 2015. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

Stephen Curry makes his whole family laugh, from left, sister Sydel Curry, wife Ayesha, daughter Riley, mother Sonya and Father Dell during his acceptance speech for the 2014-15 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player at the Oakland Convention Center in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, May 4, 2015. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

Stephen Curry isn’t the only member of his family to be going through a knee injury, but the one to his father, Dell Curry, is far more serious than a Grade 1 MCL sprain.

Dell Curry told 1065 The END he fell last month while getting out of the shower at the Ritz-Carlton Cleveland as the Charlotte Hornets broadcaster was getting ready for the game against the Cavaliers, causing an injury worse than any he had during his entire playing career.

“I stepped out of the shower, leg slipped, there was water on the marble floor, my knee hit the doorknob,” Curry told the radio station last week. “I mean, perfect. I couldn’t do it again if I staged it. Shattered my patella tendon, tore the tendon.”

Curry said he tried to get up and fell back down before crawling to his phone and calling the Hornets’ team trainer and having to get into an ambulance.

“I knew something was wrong right away because of the pain I was feeling throughout my body,” Curry said. “Again, this is the most serious injury I’ve ever had. And then they told me three months. I didn’t believe them. I thought, ‘OK, I’m am ex-athlete. I’m in pretty good shape. I’ll cut that in half.’ No. Does not matter. It’s the knee, it’s the joint, it’s the patella, it’s the kneecap. The patella does everything in your leg. It’s the reason you can raise your leg, bend it. So you’ve got to take its time, let the tendon heal.”

Curry underwent surgery, forcing the 51-year-old to miss telecasts. He didn’t attend Tuesday’s Warriors playoff game to watch his son after the Hornets’ season had ended. Curry said he has a long way to go in his slow recovery process.

“I’ve got to keep my leg up,” Curry said. “I’m still unable to bend it at all. Big ol’ huge, heavy construction brace, so I’m kind of immobile. I’ve got to have my wife drive me to rehab and back, and it’s about all I can do. It’s a serious injury.”

Curry was feeling well enough to at least laugh about the injury.

“So I think the Cleveland Ritz, they got the wrong Curry,” Dell joked. “I think they thought my son was staying in (Room) 904 instead of me.”

“Not so much (a funny story) for me, but for my friends, my sons, my buddies, they’re going to have a lot of fun with this,” Curry added.

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Warriors’ Stephen Curry to miss at least two weeks due to right knee sprain

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) dribbles past San Antonio Spurs' Patty Mills (8) as he slips on the floor in the first quarter of their game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) dribbles past San Antonio Spurs’ Patty Mills (8) as he slips on the floor in the first quarter of their game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND — Warriors guard Stephen Curry is expected to miss at least two weeks due to the right knee sprain he suffered in Game 4 against the Houston, the team announced Monday.

An MRI exam revealed a Grade 1 sprain of the medial collateral ligament.

Curry is out for the remainder of the first-round series against the Rockets and if the Warriors advance is expected to miss games in the Western Conference semifinals against either the Los Angeles Clippers or Portland Trail Blazers.

“Thanks 4 all the prayers & messages,” Curry tweeted. “Can feel all the positive energy. God is Great! All things considered I’m Gonna be alright! #DubNation.”

The Warriors lead 3-1 in the series against the Rockets after a 121-94 win Sunday in Houston, but lost Curry to injury in the second quarter.

Curry suffered the sprain on the final play of the first half when he slipped on a wet spot on the court and saw his knee buckle.

He warmed up before the start of the second half with the intention of playing, but the team’s medical staff and coach Steve Kerr prevented his return.