Stephen Curry is eligible to sign a four-year, $215 million contract extension this summer.
Curry rose to fame on a four-year, $44 million deal that ranked among the biggest steals in the NBA.
If Curry signs the extension, he’d be the first player to sign back-to-back $200 million contracts.
Stephen Curry is close to making history when it comes to NBA player earnings.
Curry is eligible to sign a four-year, $215 million extension with the Golden State Warriors this offseason. He has one year left on his current contract, worth $45.7 million.
If Curry signs the extension, he will become the first player in NBA history to sign back-to-back $200 million deals. He signed a five-year, $201 million contract in 2017.
It’s a far cry from Curry’s second NBA contract, which was a four-year, $44 million extension he signed with the Golden State Warriors in 2012. At the time, Curry was plagued by ankle injuries. He had played just 26 games in 2011-12, and some saw the Warriors’ four-year commitment as risky.
Of course, Curry developed into an All-Star guard, then an MVP candidate, winning it in back-to-back years in 2014-15 and ’15-16.
Curry’s relatively small contract at the time paved the way for the Warriors to build a super-team. They extended Klay Thompson and re-sign Draymond Green, with Curry’s cap-friendly deal saving them from having to make difficult financial choices with their best players.
And when the salary cap exploded in 2016, the Warriors then had cap space to sign Kevin Durant. All because their MVP was making $11 million per season.
Lest anyone dismiss what an achievement a second straight $200 million contract would be, consider how unlikely it is that anyone else will have the chance to do so soon.
Only three other players have signed deals worth over $200 million: Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Westbrook is unlikely to sign another when his contract expires in 2023. Antetokounmpo just signed his in December and won’t be eligible again until 2025.
Harden seems like the most likely candidate, whether he opts out of his contract in 2022 or becomes a free agent in 2023.
And consider how many other great players haven’t signed $200 million deals at all: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, just to name a few.
Curry having the opportunity to sign back-to-back $200 million deals is a testament to his greatness and his durability.
Whether Curry signs the extension will be subject to intrigue
Warriors GM Bob Myers told reporters on Monday that he is optimistic that Curry will sign an extension.
“I don’t see any reason not to be optimistic,” Myers said. “He seems like he’s motivated. We’re motivated. I would say pretty confident we’ll get something done.”
Curry hasn’t given any indications that he wants to leave the Warriors, but the team is also at a critical juncture.
Curry performed at MVP-worthy levels this season, and it still wasn’t enough to get the team into the playoffs.
Thompson missed a second straight season with an injury, and there is no guarantee he’ll be the same player upon returning next year.
Green had an excellent year defensively and remains a great playmaker, but also showed signs of decline and struggled shooting the ball.
The rest of the Warriors’ supporting cast is in flux. Andrew Wiggins had a positive year but was over-stretched as a second option on offense. Kelly Oubre Jr. is a free agent this offseason. James Wiseman, the 2020 second overall pick, showed promise but is a long way from being a major contributor on a contending team (and will also be recovering from knee surgery).
The Warriors will receive the Minnesota Timberwolves’ draft pick if it falls out of the top three. There will likely be pressure on the Warriors to search for upgrades to their roster using that pick, their own first-rounder, and Wiseman.
Given the state of the team’s future, it’s possible that Curry might be hesitant to sign an extension that would keep him with the team through 2025-26. He could wait on the extension, then possibly sign a bigger deal in 2022, assuming the salary cap goes up.
Curry could also take it in the other direction: sign the extension with the understanding that the Warriors will go all-in around him to build another championship contender.
However, Curry and the Warriors will learn that it’s more challenging to build a contender when the three stars are all paid like All-Stars.
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