LOS ANGELES: Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry has clinched a new five-year deal worth $201 million, the richest contract in NBA history, ESPN reported on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Curry, who recently helped the Warriors to their second NBA Finals crown in three years, is the first player to break the $200 million barrier, ESPN said, citing the player’s agent Jeff Austin.
News of the agreement wipes away any uncertainty concerning the future of Curry, who had been on a four-year contract worth a relatively modest $44 million until his new deal.
Despite being one of the league’s highest profile stars, Curry had languished way down the pecking order of the NBA’s best-paid players.
According to the basketball-reference.com website, Curry had been the 82nd best-paid player in the league, earning just over $12.1 million last season.
That figure is dwarfed by the league’s highest-earner, LeBron James, who stands to earn $33.3 million next season and $35.6 million in 2018-2019.
According to a survey of the world’s best paid athletes released earlier this month by Forbes, Curry had earned an additional $35 million in endorsements to go alongside his $12 million salary.
However, his new deal would make him the world’s fourth highest paid athlete — in terms of annual salary and winnings — placing him behind Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo ($58 million), Barcelona’s Lionel Messi ($53 million) and the NFL’s Andrew Luck ($47 million) on Forbes’ 2017 list.
‘Never count another man’s money’
Curry’s existing contract had been agreed when there were still doubts about his long-term fitness, with the player thought to have issues concerning the durability of his ankles.
However, those doubts have been obliterated during a series of dazzling seasons for the Warriors that have helped him become a four-time All-Star.
He was named NBA Most Valuable Player during the Warriors’ championship winning run in 2014-2015 and the following season became the first player in history to win the award in a unanimous vote.
He averaged 25.3 points per game this regular season and has led the league in three-point field goals for five straight seasons.
That remarkable run of scoring included 402 three-pointers in 2015-2016 — a single-season record. No other player had passed 300 threes in a season before Curry.
In an interview earlier this year, Curry had shrugged off his disparity in earnings with the NBA’s best-paid players.
“One thing my pops always told me is you never count another man’s money,” Curry told The San Jose Mercury News.
“It’s what you’ve got and how you take care of it. And if I’m complaining about $44 million over four years, then I’ve got other issues in my life,” he said, referring to his current deal.
Curry also revealed he had been aware he was way down the list of NBA high-earners when he signed the deal in 2012, but was happy simply to have the security of a long-term contract.
“My perspective was, ‘Man, I’ll be able to take care of my family with this. Blessed to be able to know I’ll be playing at least in the NBA for four years and see where it goes from there,” he said.