The Warriors caught many observers off guard when they decided to extend Stephen Curry's contract for four years and $44MM today, not long after the guard suffered yet another ankle injury in the preseason. Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld reported earlier that the team never had any inclination to part ways with Curry, whether they reached an extension agreement or not, and he speculates that the Warriors were motivated by the notion that Curry's hometown Bobcats could make a lucrative offer to him as a restricted free agent next summer (Twitter link). GM Bob Myers explained his decision to reporters, including Brett Pollakoff of ProBasketballTalk.com.
On the role Curry's health played in the decision:
"It’s a big belief in his health; you can bet against it or you can bet on it, and we decided to bet on it. We looked at all the information, we watched him play in the preseason, we watched him practice the last four or five days. I’m well-acquainted with his surgeon, I’ve known him for probably 10 years. With all the information we had, we felt like it was a prudent decision — not knowing what he would have commanded (on the free agent market), and that was certainly part of the process, as in, what would he have gotten if he would have played out this season? And even in some respects, whether he was healthy or not. We’ve seen some players in free agency get some pretty big numbers."
On the consequences of not extending Curry:
He could become a restricted free agent, and get offered a contract of similar or higher value. He could become a restricted free agent, and we’d choose to go in another direction. We’d have to replace the position, and that’s a hard thing to do with what amount of money we would have had. If you look at it on a global level, our options, it wasn’t like if we didn’t do this we’d have the max space to go out and get another guy. We’re thrilled we got the deal done, because we really like him. We really believe in him, and what this does is give us cost certainty in a league that is very uncertain.”
On the pitfalls of restricted free agency:
“The thing to understand about restricted free agency is, when a player enters restricted free agency and receives an offer sheet — and we’ll never know, thankfully, whether (Curry) would have or wouldn’t have — but when a team makes an offer, they have to pay a premium,” Myers said. “They pay beyond market value, and the reason being is, they have to set a bar they think that the team with the right to match won’t commit to. So even if you value a player at $12MM, you’re not going to offer 12 — you’re going to offer 13 or 14. And you saw that in restricted free agency. So to protect against that, to commit to a player we really like for this organization, we made the deal we did and we’re happy with it.”