It’s time for Steph Curry to face a difficult choice: Give his blessing to break the Warriors’ core

It’s time for Steph Curry to face a difficult choice: Give his blessing to break the Warriors’ core

SFGATE columnist Alex Siquig thinks it’s time for Steph Curry to make some really hard choices about the future of the Warriors

Steph Curry is clearly growing frustrated at the Golden State Warriors’ struggles, as seen on Dec. 12, 2023, at Footprint Center. The Phoenix Suns defeated the Warriors 119-116. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It’s been a long, grim season for the Golden State Warriors — and we haven’t even made it to Christmas yet. The shameful debacles are piling up exponentially, with late-game collapses and hapless unraveling becoming the rule, not the exception. Long-term haters of the Warriors dynasty are dancing riotously all over Golden State’s newest grave. And why not? The stage has been set for maximum schadenfreude. Steve Kerr is coaching games with the dazed look of a man who has witnessed one too many human rights violations on his watch. According to advanced stats, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins are “washed.” Draymond Green can no longer control himself at work in a way that the social contract expects of 33-year-old men. Green will soon likely be filming another therapy session with Deepak Chopra and podcasting the Zapruder film version of his hard foul on Jusuf Nurkić.

Draymond Green: Steph Curry says his Golden State Warriors team-mate 'can't  do what he's been doing' in NBA - Eurosport

The tangled path back to contention was tricky enough well before the full implications of Green’s indefinite suspension started to make themselves felt, but even with that added frustration, there’s still only one person who has the gravitational heft to actually change the moribund trajectory of a team that’s wandered so far off-course: Steph Curry. Not on the court, as an aging messianic figure hitting needlessly superhuman clutch shots, but in a much grimier sense, wading behind the scenes, practicing some realpolitik, making his roster wishes known, however difficult and bittersweet they might be. Curry must decide if he’s content riding and dying with a group that can no longer keep up with him or pivot to fight and maybe live another day.

Watch: Warriors' Steph Curry completes tough four-point play vs. Rockets

Not a fun fork in the road, but one that must be confronted nonetheless. And soon.

It’s almost an unprecedented situation, lingering in contention so long that these sorts of hard, quasi-dirty calculations become necessary. We’ve long taken this team for granted and finally our arrogant chickens are coming home to roost. For a long while, there was an almost religious belief in the core engine that powered these Warriors, that the union of Curry, Green, Thompson and Kerr still held the skeleton key that unlocked the league back in 2015. Call it arrogance, call it faith, but they backed it up more often than not, sticking to their guns stubbornly, trusting their system and culture long after most had written it off.

We’ve grown accustomed to thinking of this group as essential partners in crime, heads of a hydra that was more than the sum of its parts. Increasingly, as time limps along, it is evident that Steph Curry is the sum of the team’s parts. He isn’t one of the hydra’s complementary heads.

He’s the hydra. History and sentiment demand Thompson, Green and Kerr (and to a lesser extent Wiggins and Kevon Looney) get their due too, which is proper. But only Curry still clearly has the championship Gatorade flowing in his veins. To varying degrees, the others seem simply lost.

Steph Curry Calls for More Lineup Consistency as Warriors Face Injury Woes  - BVM Sports

Curry, who will turn 36 in March, is playing at an unprecedented level for a guard his age. In many ways, he’s a superior player to his incendiary MVP seasons. He’s stronger, a much better defender, craftier at drawing fouls. He’s aging like Paul Giamatti’s favorite pinot noir. But there’s a sadness that tags along with his sustained greatness, because he’s leaving the rest of the core behind.

Thompson isn’t nearly the player he once was, but at least he’s trying (arguably too hard). Wiggins was so incredible in the 2022 Finals, but has become an absolute space cadet with his befuddled “poise” complemented by a shaky handle and a timid shot selection. Green still theoretically has the acumen to be a positive on the court, especially playing alongside Curry, but his basketball genius seems to be devolving into a strategy amounting to “exterminate the brutes.”

Without any accountability for his actions, he’s not even a loose cannon anymore — he’s a loose Hellfire missile. Even Looney, our homegrown ironman, is noticeably dragging, a step slower, prone to uncharacteristic unforced errors. That’s the logical endpoint of the massive overreliance the franchise has placed on his shoulders this last half-decade or so. Even Atlas gets tired. It’s a bummer, watching each starter save Curry wither away in their own unique way, but it’s dangerous to pretend it’s not a thing because of sentiment, because of history.

Is Steph Curry Leaving The Warriors? Who is Steph Curry? - News

Curry has vocally supported his team, his guys. That’s the sort of thing that’s expected from a leader — only a real piece of garbage is going to get in front of the cameras and throw his guys under the bus. But there’s throwing someone under the bus, and there’s pretending there’s no bus at all.

If it’s Curry’s wish to spiral the drain in a perpetual purgatorial state chasing the play-in with the teammates who climbed the mountain with him … well, that’s what the Warriors brain trust will commit to, because what Steph Curry wants, he’s going to get. Because the moment he starts grumbling or hinting at preferred trade destinations is the moment the Warriors violently transform back into a Chris Cohan-shaped pumpkin. At least now they’ll have a shiny arena to lose in!

But if Curry were to quietly give his “blessing” to move on from some of the group of Kerr, Green, Thompson and Wiggins — definitely not all four, but one, two or even three of them — Dunleavy and the Lacob Mafia would make that happen without a second thought. Leaving aside how much money they’ve got tied up into a starting lineup that is producing at about the same level as the starters of the Detroit Pistons, it would be a justifiable basketball decision simply because it is what Curry wants.

At this point, all they’ve got left of their once-proud war machine is the promise of a year or two of Curry as a top 10 player, albeit one who needs a dynamic secondary scoring option and who deserves to know that the second-best player on his team won’t be suspended for an entire season because a tall guy from Europe irritated him. As the saying goes, “deserves” got nothing to do with it, but Curry deserves to finish what he started on a team that also deserves him.

Steph Curry discusses Warriors limiting turnovers against Clippers

Maybe that’s too much of a psychological albatross for Curry to handle, putting the guys he’s gone to war with for over a decade on a glorified Kill List. It might feel like a betrayal, but as players remind us again and again, this is a business and they are professionals.

The Warriors built something special and they’ll always have these perfectly imperfect champagne-stained years to look back on and treasure. But change inevitably comes — and whether it comes harshly or softly, it still comes. You don’t want to retire without your work-wife at your side or get transferred to the Scranton Branch, but that’s the way the cosmic cookie crumbles.

Everyone in the organization is extremely aware that something must give; what and how much is what has to be decided. Only with Curry’s tacit permission can they even start to seriously have those difficult, once seemingly inconceivable conversations.

For the sake of his final act that is yet to be written and for all the proud old squads that pushed him this far, for the rabid fans and the rabid haters alike, I hope Curry is ready to cross that Rubicon and say the words that need to be said.

And should St. Curry give his blessing to trade Brandin Podziemski, we riot.

Related Posts

Shocking Secrets Unveiled: 10 Marvel Superheroes Transcend into the Fantasy World

The MCU is home to a couple of fantasy-led projects, but from Hercules to Magik there’s room for characters to dive deeper into the genre. The Marvel…

The Untapped Potential: Why Bucky Barnes Was Destined To Become The Next Captain America In The MCU

Sam Wilson is the new Captain America for Brave New World, but Steve Rogers’ best friend, Bucky Barnes, may have made more sense as his successor. The…

Unveiling the Hidden Marvel: 10 Jaw-Dropping Secrets Locked Inside Iron Man’s MCU Armors!

Tony Stark’s Iron Man armors have become a titan in the MCU. But from the Mark I to his Iron Legion, there are many secrets fans still…

Playing the Role of a Supportive Wife: What Special Delight Did Taylor Swift Whip Up in the Kitchen for Travis Kelce’s Teammates?

Taylor Swift knows the power of a sweet treat. Thanks to her well-known love of baking, the “Karma” singer won over her boyfriend Travis Kelce’s Kansas City…

Is the Whole World Assuming Taylor Swift as Travis Kelce’s Wife? What’s Her Reaction?

The NFL commentator made the same mistake during the Bills-Chiefs game Looks like Tony Romo just referred to Taylor Swift as Travis Kelce’s wife … again. During…

Why the Delay? The Anticipation Builds for Blade’s MCU Debut

Fans were excited to see Mahershala Ali take on the role of Blade, though a lot of time has passed and things have changed since that initial…