Golden State Warriors: How Stephen Curry’s MVP-level Start Risks A KD Departure

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Kyle Terada-USA Today Sports

Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry is off to a blistering start to the new season, playing at an MVP level, which has the risk of a potential Kevin Durant departure next summer.

Before Curry and Durant teamed up to become one of the most lethal 1-2 punches in the league, they exchanged text messages in the summer of 2016, in which Durant was recruited to leave Oklahoma City, the only franchise he ever knew and was compelled to join a brewing, perennial superpower.

According to The Undefeated’s Marc Spears, Curry texted Durant that he didn’t care who the face of the franchise was and if Durant won an MVP award, Curry would be in the first row applauding his teammate. He also reiterated to Durant that the main goal were championships.

Fast forward two years and two NBA titles later, Curry is off to a fiery start to the 2018-2019 campaign, averaging 34.6 points, 6.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game on 55.0 percent shooting from the field, including 52.4 percent from beyond the arc. He is also averaging nearly seven three-point makes per game.

He is an early MVP candidate and reminding the basketball universe that he is one of the best players on the planet. His latest installment of an MVP candidacy?

Try 51 points on 15-of-24 shooting from the field, including 11-of-16 from three, on for size.

Curry might have stolen the show from Durant, who had a brilliant game himself with 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists. But this is what they wanted when they talked in the Hampton’s and exchanged text messages over two years ago. The two stars knew they would have to sacrifice some of their game for the greater good of the team.

Kevin Durant was a mere shadow on Wednesday night as the fans at Oracle Arena wallowed in the greatness of Stephen Curry, with every 30-footer he hit. Curry looked like the unanimous MVP from 2015-16 on Wednesday night as he started to percolate from all over the court.

Every touch Curry had on the ball had fans going delirious because of the thermonuclear shooting display he was putting on. Curry was showered with M-V-P chants as he paraded to the free-throw line 10 times. It is obvious that Curry is the most beloved Warrior by the fans, which makes sense as he was the foundation to the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty that they are currently.

This should make Durant think.

The Bay Area loves Curry and if he continues to play at the MVP level that he is, gets his third MVP and the Warriors win a third consecutive title, what more is there to accomplish?

He has to think: “I will never be as loved as Steph is, who is on pace for a possible third MVP and we might win another title. Why stay?”

These are questions that could be in the deep pockets of Durant’s mind with Curry playing at an MVP-level. If Curry does surge to a third MVP and the Warriors win another title, how can Curry convince Durant to stay next summer?

Durant was already a huge reason Golden State was able to repeat as back-to-back champions with a 43-point performance for the ages in Game 3 against the Cleveland Cavaliers to keep them at bay. In the Finals before in 2017, Durant averaged 35 ppg and was in some ways the best player in that series, including Stephen Curry and LeBron James. He did what he set out to do when he put ink to paper to come to the Bay Area in 2016.

There are already rumors that the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will “take a run” at Durant in free agency in the summer of 2019, per Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes (h/t Bleacher Report’s Joseph Zucker).

Curry will have to do some hardcore recruiting again of Durant to keep together an all-time dynasty with the 2018-2019 season MVP in his trophy case or not. But with electric performances like on Wednesday for Curry, it could suggest something different for Durant.

Only time will tell if Stephen Curry’s potential MVP case will hurt Kevin Durant’s opportunity to re-sign with the Warriors next summer.