It took Stephen Curry a while to catch up on the Carmelo Anthony trade
Warriors guard had been focused on practice – and a certain tweet
OAKLAND, California – With President Donald Trump’s tweet and the Golden State Warriors’ first practice on his mind, Stephen Curry didn’t learn that Carmelo Anthony was joining Russell Westbrook, Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder via trade until hours after it was agreed upon Saturday.
“I heard [the trade] happened right before practice, but I was out on the court. My phone was blowing up, anyways, for other reasons. I learned about it right as I was coming out here to talk to the media,” Curry said after practice at the Warriors’ training facility on Saturday afternoon.
Curry, teammates Draymond Green and David West, head coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers spoke to the media after practice primarily about Trump tweeting that the 2017 NBA champions were not welcome to visit the White House because Curry was “wavering.” A day earlier, Curry had said he didn’t want to visit if the offer was extended because of his frustrations with Trump’s views. Several of Curry’s teammates said similar words during Media Day on Friday. Trump ended the discussion Saturday morning when he tweeted that he was rescinding the invite.
At the end of Curry’s media session, he joked about not being asked how practice went. The two-time NBA MVP tried to mentally switch gears after a demanding day to talk about the Anthony trade. Anthony joined fellow NBA All-Stars George and Westbrook, the 2017 NBA MVP, from New York in exchange for Enes Kanter, forward Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick.
“I don’t even know about this trade,” Curry said. “I just heard about this trade 10 seconds ago. So, they got Kanter and … I guess I am happy [for Anthony] because I know he wanted to get out and be in a situation where he felt like what he was doing on the court was actually productive.
“It’s going to be wild to see that trio of guys together. It’s just crazy how the West is getting stronger and stronger. It should be another tough matchup when we play them.”
Longtime former Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who won a title in his first season with the Warriors last season, got the day off from speaking to the media after practice. Next to Durant, Green is typically jeered the most by Thunder fans when the Warriors come to town. Even so, Green was glad that Anthony landed there and wasn’t nervous for the Warriors.
“I’m happy for him. It doesn’t change my views to who we are as a team,” Green told The Undefeated. “But I’m happy for him, definitely. I don’t hate OKC. They hate me. I don’t hate them. I don’t care. You’re adding a guy who can give you 20 [points] a night. It is definitely going to make you better. I think it definitely helps them.”
The “Melo” drama began in January when then-New York Knicks president Phil Jackson said publicly that he could not win with Anthony. Jackson’s firing in June and Scott Perry being hired as general manager didn’t change Anthony’s wishes to be traded. After interest from the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Trail Blazers, Anthony waived his no-trade clause, allowing Perry to move him to the Thunder.
Green and Anthony were teammates on USA Basketball’s 2016 World Cup championship team. Green said he was “happy” for Anthony, whom he had been speaking to regularly in recent months as the drama boiled over in New York.
“You could kind of see that [Anthony] was over it,” Green said. “I think he handled it the best he possibly could. I have a lot of respect for the way he handled it. I’m just happy to see that he is out of a situation that he didn’t want to be in.
“He just got to the point where he was over it. Initially, it was stressful. But, I think it got to point where he felt, ‘Whatever … Here we go again.’ ”
While the Warriors sit atop the NBA and the West, the landscape has become more difficult this offseason.
The Thunder have three of the NBA’s most intimidating scorers in Westbrook, George and Anthony. The Rockets have upgraded by adding nine-time NBA All-Star point guard Chris Paul in the backcourt to join NBA All-Star James Harden. While point guard Tony Parker is injured, the San Antonio Spurs have added veteran forward Rudy Gay to their roster, which includes All-Star Kawhi Leonard and forward LaMarcus Aldridge. The Minnesota Timberwolves also acquired NBA All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to play with budding standouts Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
“Regardless to who is out West, winning a championship is never easy. We still got to go out there and play the game and get better every time we are on the floor,” Green said.
Warriors forward David West said “it seems like everyone is loading up” in the “more attractive” and “beast” West. West previously played with George with the Indiana Pacers, who dealt him this past offseason to the Thunder for guard Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
West said that Westbrook, George and Anthony are “ball-dominant guys who are going to have to make adjustments.” West and the Warriors play the new-look Thunder for the first time in Oklahoma City on Nov. 22.
“We know the West is going to be competitive,” West said. “It just got more competitive. We will just see how it goes. People look at the way the West plays, the style of play, the scoring and it’s more attractive to guys. I think the East is kind of stuck in this half-court, old-school conundrum. It’s run and gun [out West].
“I’ve talked to [George] about how it is out here in the wild, wild West. I am going to text him.”
So, is the new-look Thunder the team the Warriors should be most worried about out West?
“It’s all hard to tell, because it’s all new looks,” Curry said. “We don’t know what style [the Thunder] are going to play and how they are going to balance their attack. It will all make itself known as we go through the season.”
Said West: “We are going to focus on us. We know we have to play everybody three or four times. We have to go through our schedule. We have a lot of versatility. We just have to bring our approach defensively and see where we come out in the wash.”