At the height of Golden State’s dynastic dominance, we all couldn’t help but wonder what would come after. Kevin Durant wouldn’t stay there forever, but how would they deal with their three other max contract players? If they aren’t prohibitive favorites to win the title like everyone else, would ownership pony up the dough to keep all three of Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson?
Most speculated Green would be the one to go; he isn’t as an impactful two-way player as Thompson, and isn’t transcendent on one end of the floor like Curry. But this summer, the Warriors made their intentions very clear: they’re running it back with the core that started it all, signing Thompson to a max deal when free agency opened followed by a max extension for Green on Saturday.
Each of the Warriors’ pieces fills an important role. Curry is the once-in-a-generation superstar as the engine that all the parts are built around. Thompson covers for Curry on the defensive end with the shooting chops to step up when Curry is cold and prone to catch fire at any given moment. Green is the heart and soul of the squad, the raging fire that commands the back end of their defense, and an elite facilitator offensively who can get the ball to the right spot while defenses key in on Curry.
All in all, Golden State will pay over $300 million to their three stars through 2021, when Curry’s contract is up. That’s a whole lot of money, but they already won a championship with these guys at the helm. Yes, they’re all a few years older, but their skills haven’t declined. We probably won’t see the Warriors at their full strength until the playoffs, when Thompson should be fully recovered from his torn ACL suffered in the Finals. Even if a solid third of the West got a lot better, it’s tough to bet against Green, Curry, and Thompson.
That’s just next year, too. Oddly enough, despite the fact that they were the poster team for why basketball was broken over the last three years, the Warriors have accomplished precisely what the NBA wants teams to accomplish: they drafted three superstars, used the CBA rules to pay them their due, and managed to keep a homegrown core together despite not being in New York or Los Angeles. It doesn’t seem like they’re going anywhere for a long time, either.