Warriors Enter Uncertain Future On Heels Of NBA Finals Loss, Injuries
After the Warriors were unsuccessful in their bid for a three-peat against the Raptors in the NBA Finals, the "pressure is on" Warriors co-Owner Joe Lacob and other team execs "like never before -- for several reasons," according to Marc Stein of the N.Y. TIMES. The whole organization "remains under significant scrutiny" for the clearance F Kevin Durant "received to play in Game 5 -- and the Achilles' tear that came after just 12 minutes of court time." The "embarrassing suspension" of investor Mark Stevens for shoving Raptors G Kyle Lowry during Game 3 is "another major eyesore." But most of all, it is the "inflation that awaits Warriors fans when the team relocates" to Chase Center in S.F. next season. Can the Warriors "stay at a level commensurate with dynastic ticket prices?" Lacob said, "We're planning on owning this team for a long time, so I might have a little longer-term view than that to be honest. I think you can rest assured we'll figure out a way to be very competitive going forward." However, Stein wondered "what kind of team will the Warriors have next season ... even if they're able to re-sign Durant" along with G Klay Thompson, who suffered a torn ACL during Game 6 (N.Y. TIMES, 6/16). NBA TV's Ro Parrish said the Warriors are "doing okay with revenue, but how will they manage potentially paying two max players for a redshirt season." NBA TV's Tom Penn noted signing both Durant and Thompson will require a "ton of money" and would have a "major impact on their cap" ("NBA Gametime," NBA TV, 6/15).
CURRY BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT: In Boston, Gary Washburn wrote the Warriors are "offended by the perception that their run is done and feel as if their accomplishments are underappreciated." For G Stephen Curry, the "lone healthy Warriors cornerstone, there could be tremendous pressure on him next season." He just signed his super-max contract in '17 and "will be the face of the franchise as the team moves" to S.F. (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/16). In S.F., Ann Killion wrote when the Warriors "broke ground" on Chase Center, Durant was the "player they chose to put the shovel in the dirt." But the star of Chase Center will be Curry, and for Warriors fans, that "might be enough" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/15).
END OF AN ERA: In Houston, Jonathan Feigen wrote there was a "sense that no matter what becomes of the Warriors, the league has reached a turning point." The Warriors' "run of excellence, unlike their reign, might not be at an end." But they will be "different in ways that go far beyond the arena and side of the Bay they will call home." Their "greatness could endure," but their "well-earned aura of invincibility will not" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/16).