The fourth-year guard out of Davidson has made quite an impact with the Golden State Warriors. Averaging 17.5 points, 5.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds through three seasons while being a productive member on and off the court, Stephen Curry and the Warriors have agreed on a four-year, $44 million extension. Had a deal not been reached, Curry would have become a restricted free agent by season's end. Since coming into the league in 2009, he has shot 47 percent from the field, 44 percent beyond the arc and 90 percent from the charity stripe. The only other player in NBA history to shoot at least 46 percent from the field, 43 percent from three and 80 percent from the free-throw line in three straight seasons is Steve Kerr (46/46/84).
When Curry is on the court, he produces. But that's the key word: "when". Can he hang in for a grueling, 82-game season year after year? Out of 231 possible games, Curry has played in 181 of them (including last night's game against the Phoenix Suns). Last year he missed 40 games with a right ankle injury, and to kick off the 2012-13 season, he re-injured the same ankle in the preseason matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers. That latest setback only presents a greater challenge for him in shedding the "injury-prone" label. While he has missed just 10 games prior to last season, his ankles continue to nag and restrict his potential.
However, looking past the injuries, Curry is arguably the Warriors' best player. He is an efficient jump shooter but is also a willing passer. His ability to score or set up his teammates speaks volume of his talent. The 24-year-old point guard is vital to Golden State's up-tempo offensive system, and team for that matter.
Immediately after point guard Ty Lawson received a four-year, $48 million contract extension from the Denver Nuggets, Golden State wanted Curry to be a major piece of their franchise for the foreseeable future. With the ankle injuries aside, he might have netted a contract exceeding that value. In addition, Curry's salary does not contain any incentives or bonuses.
It is rare that both parties come out winning when it comes contract negotiations, but that was the case here. Curry receives a long-term deal that he has wanted, while the Warriors have some security should his injuries persist. Even though Golden State has brought in David Lee, Andrew Bogut and a rising star in Klay Thompson, this is Curry's team. At such a young age, he has the chance to become the face of the franchise. Only, it is up to him to seize the opportunity and hold on.
Travis Chan is a longtime fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Giants and Golden State Warriors. He is also a contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter @Travischan1.
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