Throughout his injury-plagued three-year career, Stephen Curry has proven to be one of the sharpest shooters in all of basketball. Two years ago he paced the entire league in free-throw percentage with an astonishing 93.4% mark, and his career three-point shooting percentage of 44.1% makes him a full-on priority for opposing defenses from almost anywhere on the court.
And still, it's because of those aforementioned injuries, specifically Curry's ankles, that the Warriors are unlikely to offer him the five-year extension he currently seeks. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger tweeted in early July that "early indications" suggested the Warriors would not agree to a contract extension this year. Despite Curry's incredible ability to make shots at an efficient rate, guaranteeing him a long-term deal is simply too big of a risk for any team to commit to, especially when you factor in the harsh tax penalties that will kick in through the life of his hypothetical contract.
And yet, one would think Curry is still a major part of the Warriors' future. He wants to play there for the long term, and time and time again the team has reportedly refused to part with Curry in deals for prominent stars like Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul. Then, in the face of a long-standing belief that Curry couldn't successfully co-exist in a winning backcourt with Monta Ellis, Golden State traded Ellis at last year's trading deadline.
For the next two years, the Warriors have eight-figure deals tied into Andrew Bogut, David Lee, and Richard Jefferson. Based on his skill level compared to equally experienced colleagues, Curry could command as much as $14MM on the open market. It's difficult to imagine him and the Warriors parting ways, but it might be even harder to picture a Golden State franchise paying four non-All-Stars annual salaries of over $10MM. All the while, the Warriors still haven't proved to be a playoff team.
One proposed possibility that's reportedly been discussed is an injury clause, which would give the Warriors some leeway in the event that Curry continues to miss significant time, or is forced to have another ankle surgery. It's a delicate situation for Warriors management to tip-toe around, and they only have until October 31 of this year to figure it out. The most likely scenario is the Warriors letting Curry become a restricted free agent, then matching the inevitable max offer sheet proposed by another team—a situation similar to what recently happened with Eric Gordon and the Hornets. This way Golden State saves a year's worth of salary, and Curry gets a hefty second contract.