Curry fi­nally earn­ing what he’s worth Golden State dy­namo signs off on 5-year deal worth $201 mil­lion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

OAK­LAND, Cal­i­for­nia — Stephen Curry has al­ready de­liv­ered more than his share of suc­cess to a fran­chise that des­per­ately needed it.

Now, he’s be­ing paid for all he has done — and cer­tainly will do.

Curry fi­nal­ized his new con­tract on Tues­day, sign­ing a five-year deal with the cham­pion Golden State War­riors that will pay him $201 mil­lion.

It is NBA’s sec­ond-rich­est con­tract, be­hind the $228 mil­lion ex­ten­sion James Har­den signed with the Hous­ton Rock­ets two weeks ago.

Con­sid­ered over­looked and un­der­sized when he ar­rived on the NBA scene af­ter be­ing drafted sev­enth over­all out of David­son Col­lege in 2009, Curry has si­lenced the doubters with ev­ery heave from half­court.

The two-time league MVP, who earned $12 mil­lion last sea­son as one of the league’s big­gest bar­gains, av­er­aged 28.1 points in the play­offs while also con­tribut­ing 6.7 as­sists and 6.2 re­bounds. Now, he will earn $40 mil­lion per sea­son.

“I’m just happy to be a leader on this team that can un­der­stand the goals that we set out for our­selves and try to get it done the best way we could,” Curry said af­ter the Game 5 ti­tle-clincher in the NBA Fi­nals last month.

Fi­nals MVP Kevin Du­rant also signed his new con­tract — worth ap­prox­i­mately $53 mil­lion over the next two years — as Golden State an­nounced its deals with re­turn­ing free agents.

Sure, Du­rant’s spec­tac­u­lar post­sea­son may have shone brighter as he hoisted his MVP hard­ware, but Curry did so much on the way to his sec­ond ti­tle in three years. From his daz­zling drib­bling, shot-mak­ing and the way he dishes off, Curry has been bril­liant — but what he does for the War­riors as an am­bas­sador in the com­mu­nity is as much a part of what makes him spe­cial as any­thing else.

He is the face of a fran­chise that has be­come the stan­dard by which ev­ery other or­ga­ni­za­tion is mea­sured.

When coach Steve Kerr was asked in early April about how Curry had taken on more of the load with Du­rant nurs­ing a left knee in­jury, the 2016 NBA coach of the year touched on his point guard’s un­fail­ing abil­ity to guide Golden State.

“I don’t think he’s been any dif­fer­ent with KD out in terms of his lead­er­ship. He’s still just Steph,” Kerr said.

“He’s hum­ble and cocky at the same time, which is why we like him. He’s a very hum­ble, mod­est hu­man be­ing, which the guys re­spect. And he’s an ar­ro­gant bas­ket­ball player, which is what you need to be a su­per­star.

“He be­lieves in him­self and he goes out there look­ing to light it up ev­ery night. You take him off the floor you won’t find a kinder, gen­tler hu­man be­ing.”

Curry is get­ting paid for all those things af­ter help­ing turn the fran­chise from a long­time laugh­ing stock into a reg­u­lar championship con­tender.

Now, he wants to build a dy­nasty with KD by his side. Du­rant ac­cepted less money for the com­ing sea­son so the War­riors’ core could re­main in­tact.

From spend­ing an off-day at an in­ner-city el­e­men­tary school to do­nat­ing three bed nets for ev­ery 3-pointer he makes to fight malaria through ‘Noth­ing But Nets’, Curry is as com­fort­able hang­ing with kids as he is in­tensely duel­ing Du­rant in 3-point shootouts on the prac­tice floor or driv­ing past LeBron James to score on the NBA’s big­gest stage.

Curry never wor­ried about his own pro­duc­tion, the scru­tiny of his di­min­ished points or shoot­ing per­cent­ages play­ing along­side fel­low su­per­star Du­rant.

A year af­ter break­ing his own NBA record with 402 3-point­ers, Curry rarely fin- ished quar­ters with those jaw­drop­ping 3s that were so mem­o­rable from the pre­vi­ous cam­paign — and that was fine, be­cause Golden State kept win­ning. The War­riors were shar­ing the ball in Kerr’s deep ro­ta­tion, de­vel­op­ing into a close-knit group with great chemistry de­spite all the new faces.

But it wasn’t un­til the War­riors blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quar­ter of a de­mor­al­iz­ing 109-108 loss at Cleve­land on Christ­mas Day that Curry reached the re­al­iza­tion he must do more.

“I learned a lot about my­self,” he said. “Af­ter that Christ­mas Day game I kind of un­der­stood that we have such high-IQ play­ers that if I could be ag­gres­sive, do what I do and need to do ev­ery sin­gle night, ev­ery­thing will kind of flow from that.

“The proof is ob­vi­ously in what we were able to ac­com­plish from that point on in the reg­u­lar sea­son, be­ing 16-1 in the play­offs, ev­ery­body be­ing the best ver­sion of them­selves and putting all the puz­zle pieces to­gether.”

Golden State War­riors' Kevin Du­rant (left) and Stephen Curry

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