Steph Curry has been a busy man these past few weeks.
While his Golden State Warriors were working to land a fifth All-Star in DeMarcus Cousins not long after winning their third title in four years, and the Los Angeles Lakers were adding longtime adversary LeBron James as other stars like Oklahoma City’s Paul George and Houston’s Chris Paul stayed put, Curry and his wife, Ayesha, were making a roster addition of their own. But on the day Canon Jack Curry was born and his young sisters, Riley and Ryan, met their new brother, there was unexpected basketball business that demanded his attention.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers was analyzing all the angles of a possible Cousins coup, and he had to hear from the 30-year-old whose voice on locker room matters looms so large.
“It actually happened about five hours after my wife had given birth,” Curry told USA TODAY Sports by phone this week. “I was in the hospital, and I didn’t have my phone on me. My dad was there, and Bob Myers called and wanted to congratulate me and the family on the new addition. And then he said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a potential opportunity to sign DeMarcus,’ and we all looked at each other like, ‘What are you talking about?’”
And just like that, his work family had a new member too.
“I don’t think (adding Cousins in free agency) was on anybody’s radar going into the summer,” Curry continued. “(Myers) laid out how it happened with DeMarcus’ free agency, and the early stages and what-not, and he was like, ‘Hey if we can sign him would you like to play with him?’ And I said, ‘Obviously, hell yeah. That would be amazing.’”
In advance of the 29th annual Lake Tahoe celebrity golf tournament this weekend, Curry discussed everything from Cousins to Canon to the reality that his team’s dominance has sparked a league-wide debate about competitive balance.
Q: So we had Chris Paul going from the Clippers to the Rockets last year, and now with LeBron going to LA this is the second straight summer where a huge star is relocating, in essence, because his team couldn’t figure out how to get past you guys. Does that idea resonate with you, that this massive movement is all sparked by the accomplishments of your group?
A: For sure, because we’re the champs. Every year, every summer, everybody has to figure out, for one, what’s the best interest for you as a person, and your family and where you are in your career and make decisions. And two, if I was on the other side, and I wasn’t on the team that was the last man standing and holding the trophy, you try to exhaust all efforts to try to figure out how to get better as a team, get in a better situation, whatever the case is. But it also goes both ways, because we’re trying to get better too.
So everybody says how we’re ruining the NBA – I love that phrasing; it’s the dumbest phrase ever. We are always trying to find a way to get better. If we were just happy with winning a championship and staying stagnant, we wouldn’t be doing ourselves justice. Obviously with KD (Kevin Durant signing in 2016), with DeMarcus this summer, with the bench guys that we’ve been able to sign, everybody is trying to get better and we just happen to be the ones who set the pace and set the narrative around how you need to structure your team to beat us. That’s great. I love that vibe, because it keeps us on edge seeing the ripple effect around the NBA and where guys are going and that type of stuff.
Q: How do you see the DeMarcus move from a basketball standpoint?
A: We have an opportunity to play a different style than we ever have, which is a low post scorer, a playmaker like DeMarcus, and the versatility we could have in the lineup with him (will be great). I know he has talked about the potential being scary, and coach (Steve) Kerr has talked about the challenge and the bright spots of being able to infuse DeMarcus’ talent and skill-set into what we do. All that stuff is just exciting.
Knowing what he’s been through, with his Achilles (tear in February) and the recovery and the opportunity he has to come back and prove a lot of people wrong, I like that. I like a motivated and driven DeMarcus coming back from this injury and helping us win another championship, so it’s going to be crazy and exciting. I don’t really know how it’ll play out Xs and Os wise, but we have a lot of talented guys who know how to sacrifice, who know how to play the game at a high level, who have high IQs. He’ll transition just fine. At the end of the day, we’re about winning, so I don’t think anything will get in the way of that from a distraction standpoint.
Q: Unpack the locker room side of it for me. I mean a couple months ago, he was trying to storm into your locker room and now he’s part of it (After a Dec. 4 game in New Orleans in which Durant and Cousins were both ejected, Cousins had to be held back by security after attempting to enter the Warriors’ locker room). But it sounds like you green-lighted this right away?
A: Oh, for sure. We like those challenges. I guess you’d call it ‘The Revival,’ I guess, in the sense that that’s where a guy’s reputation is around the league. But at the end of the day, I’ve played with DeMarcus in Team USA stuff (during their time together competing in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Cousins jokingly referred to himself as ‘the third Splash Brother’). I’ve played against him. We’ve had run-ins, the teams had run-ins. …But it’s going to be fun.
Q: How do you see the LeBron move? It obviously helps them, but he made that move West and you guys aren’t going away, or Houston or Utah, or OKC or Portland. What do you think they’ll be as a team?
A: I don’t know what they’re going to be as a team, because obviously it’s brand new and they don’t have their identity. But at the end of the day they’ll come together with LeBron leading the charge. At the end of the day, he’s in a great market, he’s in a great city, he’s around a great organization that has had a history of winning, he’s with (Lakers president of basketball operations) Magic (Johnson). It’s interesting for him to make a move.
There’s a lot that’s been made about the competition in the West and his eight straight Finals appearances and all that, but that just makes everybody raise the antenna up a little bit – including us. It’s going to be fun for fans, playing (more) in the regular season and who knows in the playoffs. So the West obviously got stronger with LeBron but you’ve still got to beat us.
Q: You getting any sleep these days with the little guy up at all hours?
A: It’s been exciting, but obviously surreal. I’ve messed up the he-she pronouns countless times already. But I’ve talked to a crazy amount of parents who talk about going from two to three kids, and the difference – we’re only a week in, a week and a half in, but still learning lessons and we’re enjoying it. Blessing all the way around, for sure.
Q: You know the old saying about going from man-to-man to zone when you have three kids…
A: We’re already experiencing that. You tend to be at the house and lose one kid somewhere around the house and start yelling until you find them, but we’re doing our best.