When Warriors owner Joe Lacob said he would trade point guard Stephen Curry -- or anyone else on the club, for that matter -- if it helped the team, those comments created a bit of a firestorm.
It contradicted the popular belief that Curry was untouchable. Suddenly, a trade involving Curry became a hot topic on national sports shows, sports talk radio, the blogosphere and fan forums.
"It's a bit of a shock, because you feel like you're doing everything else you were supposed to be doing," Curry said Sunday. "Especially since I've never been in a situation where me changing teams or being traded would be an option, it's kind of like a weird thing to think about. But they've been straightforward about what they see in us and it's all been positive for me, so I don't have any problem brushing that off."
If you call 66 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds over two games brushing it off, then Curry indeed dusted the rumors off his shoulder. He led a fourth-quarter comeback in Friday's win over Sacramento. He almost did again Saturday against the Clippers in Los Angeles with backcourt mate Monta Ellis limited by a sore ankle.
Sounds like someone was motivated by his name and the word trade being used in the same sentence. Sounds like someone was bent on reminding everyone why he was once deemed untouchable.
"If anything," Curry said, "it was the result of me reminding myself. I'm my biggest critic. I just play the game and don't worry
Most expectations for Curry entering this season were astronomical based on the second half of last season, when he nearly stole Rookie of the Year honors from Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans.
But this season, Curry has struggled at times. Turnovers, poor defense and fouls have led to some rough stretches, to him being benched during key fourth-quarter moments, and to people questioning his potential.
Coach Keith Smart said Curry's struggles have been a result of his inexperience and occasionally being passive. Playing alongside Monta Ellis, David Lee and Dorell Wright also has Curry more concerned with running plays and getting others their shots.
Last season, when surrounded mostly by reserves with many of his teammates injured, Curry was the playmaker constantly putting pressure on the defense. The last two games, he's gotten back to that.
"I just think it's his competitive nature," Smart said. "He's realizing he is valuable and he's got to get his level of game play up. He was looking for his shot a little more. I think he needs to do that more than trying to look to pass to everyone."
The reality, however, is the Warriors may have to trade one of their guards. Lacob and general manager Larry Riley have consistently said they want to upgrade the talent and add a difference maker. Ellis and Curry are the Warriors' hottest commodities, with Curry probably being more attractive because he's younger than Ellis and isn't owed $33 million over the next three years.
Plus, many still question whether two 6-foot-3, 180-pound guards can win at a high level as a backcourt.
For Ellis and Curry to succeed as a tandem, it will probably require Curry to continue playing as he did in the last two games. The Warriors need him to be the aggressive, crafty, shooting point guard he was against the Sacramento Kings and Clippers.
"I feel like he's back healthy now and I feel like he's continuing to be aggressive," Lee said. "That's a mark that he's got his confidence."
San Antonio (37-7) at Warriors (19-24), 7:30 p.m., CSNBA