The Golden State Warriors are gambling that adding superstar Kevin Durant to an already stacked team will bring them back to an NBA title, but rumors indicate that it could blow up in a spectacular way if the chemistry fails, leading to the possible departure of Stephen Curry.
The Warriors shocked the NBA this summer when they landed Durant, one of the most seismic and surprising moves in NBA history. It seemed to take the superteam that set the NBA record for regular-season wins with 73 and somehow makes them even more unstoppable.
But it also threatens to throw off the carefully crafted chemistry between Golden State’s stars that has helped make them the best franchise over the course of the last three years. With Durant on board, there will certainly be fewer touches for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and it’s not yet clear how that will play out.
There are now rumors that at least one NBA team is hoping that a season with disastrous chemistry may have Stephen Curry looking for a way out. Bleacher Report‘s Ric Bucher noted that the plan comes from a title-contending team hoping to give Curry a chance to lead if he loses that opportunity in Golden State.
“There are 29 teams hoping the chemistry between Kevin Durant and Steph Curry is poisonous, but there is one team that is planning for it. I’ve been told by one of the league’s title contenders that they hope to poach Curry. They see KD taking the last-minute shots that were once Curry’s domain. Their pitch will be, ‘Come to us, and you can be the man once more.’”
The Washington Post digs even further, narrowing down the list of potential teams behind the NBA rumor to the most likely candidates. The list noted that it’s down to the “Cavaliers, Clippers and Spurs, plus maybe the Raptors or Thunder.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder would be the most interesting team on the list. Going into the offseason, the prevailing thought among NBA insiders was that Kevin Durant would re-sign with the Thunder with a significant salary increase.
Instead, Durant ended up bolting for the team that erased a three games to one lead against his Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. If it ended up being the Thunder trying to poach Stephen Curry, it could eventually lead to a new rivalry between Curry and Durant with the teams swapped.
Despite the rumors circulating around the NBA, the most likely scenario is that the Warriors will give Stephen Curry a huge raise next year and lock him down for the long term. Curry is currently the fifth-highest paid player on the Warriors roster, making just $12.1 million per year.Since signing that deal in 2012, Curry has evolved from an often-injured player surrounded by question marks into one of the most unstoppable players in the game with two consecutive league MVP awards.https://twitter.com/NBCSports/status/758638158229614592
And as MassLive.com pointed out, it’s not likely that Curry and Durant will fall into a rivalry in their first season together. The report pointed out that the Warriors players all had a hand in helping to recruit Durant, so it’s not as if he comes in as an unwelcome player who could shatter their chemistry.
“That said, it appears pretty unlikely the Warriors’ relationships will turn “poisonous.” Golden State had unbelievable chemistry last season, and they all pitched in on Durant’s recruitment. Presumably, they are also all aware of how their roles will change, and if they are (and they prove comfortable with the changes), they could be a historically great team.”
But if somehow the Golden State Warriors do struggle this year, or even if it takes a few weeks for the chemistry to work itself out, expect the NBA rumor mill to kick up again.
[Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images]