NBA

Extremely proud of three special years - Curry discusses Durant's exit for first time

By Sports Desk July 12, 2019

Stephen Curry explained he is "extremely proud" of three "special years" playing alongside Kevin Durant, as he discussed his former team-mate's free agency departure for the first time.

Durant opted out of his player option with the Golden State Warriors to join the Brooklyn Nets, having helped the team reach three straight NBA Finals, winning two.

Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and DeMarcus Cousins have also left the Warriors, while Klay Thompson will miss most of next season with a torn ACL.

Curry's team are consequently not the favourites to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time in the last half-decade, but he made it clear the demands the squad place on themselves will not change.

"The three years we had were special," Curry told reporters at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament about Durant, who reportedly opted to join the Nets while Curry was travelling from China to meet him.

"We had three straight Finals appearances and won two of them. We accomplished a lot as a group. 

"Everyone talks about all the talent we had on that team, but that doesn't mean you can put it all together. I like to look at what we accomplished and focus on that and be extremely proud of that run. Now we try to recreate that.

"There are a lot of changes, but the expectations of how we play, that championship-level basketball, won't change. I'm excited about it."

The Warriors managed to land D'Angelo Russell from the Nets as part of a sign-and-trade agreement involving Durant, and Curry is optimistic about the new arrival, even if he may not stay with the Warriors long term once Thompson is fully fit.

"I haven't had much personal interaction with him," added Curry. "Back when he got drafted, there were some comparisons of our games. He can handle the ball, shoot, pass. 

"Having versatile guys like that can only help our team. The chemistry will develop quickly. It's about encouraging each other and having confidence we'll get the most out of each other."

Curry, 31, added: "I'm the oldest on the team now, so I've got to step my game up. 

"It's a tough business. You knew at some point there would be some hard changes. You talk about Andre and Shaun, they're two guys who do things the right way. They have the ultimate level of professionalism, a respect for what they say and do. 

"They're both three-time champs, and I think they have a lot left in the tank. It'll be fun and weird to watch them on different teams."

Related items

  • Australia's first victory over Team USA can be a building block - Mills Australia's first victory over Team USA can be a building block - Mills

    Australia beat the United States for the first time in history in Melbourne on Saturday and Patty Mills hopes the Boomers can build something special from the landmark achievement.

    Team USA won the first exhibition 102-86 at Marvel Stadium on Thursday, but the hosts responded with a 98-94 victory in front of 52,079 fans two days later.

    Australia came from 10 points down in the second half, with San Antonio Spurs guard Mills scoring 30 – including the last 10 for the Boomers – to see out a historic triumph.

    "It's a building block for us. We've been taking it step by step and understanding that this is process. But it's good to get everyone back and get everyone on the floor," said Mills in an on-court interview.

    "This is just one step towards our progress and ultimate goal of creating history and winning a medal, so we're locked in on that focus for sure.

    "The support has been amazing. We've been through a lot of adversity as a team, as a programme.

    "We're very proud to represent these colours and represent them the right way and we're doing it as a team, as a group, as best mates."

    Kemba Walker scored 22 points off the bench for Gregg Popovich's USA side, while Harrison Barnes had 20 points and six rebounds in 26 minutes.

    Team USA conclude their tour in Sydney on Sunday when they face Canada, who will meet Australia in their FIBA World Cup opener in China on September 1.

  • Kings coach Luke Walton cleared in sexual assault investigation Kings coach Luke Walton cleared in sexual assault investigation

    The Sacramento Kings and NBA announced on Friday they have cleared coach Luke Walton after a four-month investigation into allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

    Kelli Tennant, a former Spectrum SportsNet reporter, sued Walton on April 22, accusing him of sexual assault, verbal and physical harassment and unwanted physical contact over a three-year period.

    A day later, Tennant held a press conference and recounted an alleged incident at a Los Angeles hotel in 2014 during which, she said, Walton pinned her to a bed.

    At the time of the alleged incident Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.Tennant's lawsuit and news conference came only a week after he was named the Kings head coach.

    Her allegations prompted the NBA and Kings to launch a joint investigation. Almost two-dozen people were interviewed during the investigation, but despite "repeated attempts" to interview Tennant, she did not participate on the advice of her legal team, according to an NBA statement.

    The statement read: "Based on this and the available evidence, the investigators determined that there was not a sufficient basis to support the allegations made against Coach Walton."

    Tennant's civil suit is believed to still be active. Tennant's attorney, Garo Mardirossian of Los Angeles, did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the Sacramento Bee.

    Walton, who coached the Los Angeles Lakers for three seasons before parting ways with the team in April, takes over a Kings club that finished 39-43 last season.

    "I am 100 per cent focused on coaching the Sacramento Kings and energised to work with this incredible group of players and coaches as we start this preseason," Walton said in a statement on Friday. "I will have no further comment."

    "Luke Walton is our head coach and we support him and his team as they continue to prepare for the upcoming season," the Kings said in a statement.

  • Timberwolves need Wiggins 'to be a main contributor' – Rosas Timberwolves need Wiggins 'to be a main contributor' – Rosas

    The Minnesota Timberwolves need Andrew Wiggins to be more consistent, according to president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas.

    Wiggins signed a five-year, $146.5million extension with the Timberwolves in October 2017, but the 24-year-old regressed over the last two NBA seasons. 

    Rosas was asked about Wiggins – the 2015 Rookie of the Year – and his development during an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair on Thursday.

    "Andrew in particular with his talent and physical abilities, the potential he's shown, we've got to get that on a more consistent basis," Rosas told the Star Tribune. 

    "He's focused on it as well. In order for us to have the success we want to have, he's got to be a main contributor. He understands that, we understand that."

    The Timberwolves acquired Wiggins from the Cleveland Cavaliers before his rookie season as the centrepiece of the Kevin Love trade.

    Wiggins averaged 18.1 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting a career-low 41.2 per cent from the field in 2018-19.

    Rosas thinks Wiggins will benefit from playing under Ryan Saunders, who was named the Timberwolves head coach after serving in an interim role to end last season. 

    "To be fair to [Wiggins], he needs some continuity in terms of coaching, philosophy, strategy and style of play," Rosas said. "We think he's going to be one of the better beneficiaries of this style of play.

    "His physical tools, talent and skill. We do feel there's a lot of upside for him. He's worked very hard this summer. He's been committed to everything that we've done."

    The Timberwolves finished 2018-19 with a 36-46 record and missed the playoffs.

     

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.