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Warriors, Cavs working on fourth NBA finals in a row

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors smokes a cigar after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game five to win the 2017 NBA Finals, at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California, on June 12 © GETTY/AFP / EZRA SHAW

OAKLAND, United States, Jun 14Stephen Curry was still smiling and laughing about Golden State’s second NBA title in three seasons when he made it clear the Warriors think they are just getting started hoisting trophies.

“We’re obviously just getting started,” the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player said. “This is something that we want to continue to do.”

The Golden State juggernaut rolled over Cleveland four games to one in the best-of-seven championship series, which ended with a 129-120 Warriors home triumph Monday that brought NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant his first championship.

“They have an incredible team. They beat us, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be back and we’ll be ready to battle again,” Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving said. “You just pick yourself back up and you keep pushing and you keep going.”

It was an unprecedented third consecutive meeting between the clubs in the finals and both appear ready to continue their domination of conference rivals on the way to an annual showdown for the crown.

“As far as that team, they’re going to be here for a while,” Cleveland superstar LeBron James said of the Warriors. “Pretty much all their big-name guys are in their 20s and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. From my eyes, they’re built to last a few years.”

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant (the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player), and Draymond Green (holding the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy) of the Golden State Warriors celebrate in Oakland, on June 12, 2017 © GETTY/AFP / EZRA SHAW

Curry, Durant, 3-point sharpshooter Klay Thompson and forward Draymond Green are all under 30 and formidable starters.

“It’s encouraging. Quite encouraging,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s fun to be part of this. It has been great three-year run, but we feel like we can carry this forward. We’ll see how long.”

The Cavaliers will be searching for answers in the off-season after being dethroned, the Warriors avenging last year’s loss when they squandered a 3-1 finals lead.

Does Cavaliers general manager David Griffin look to star free agents or trade deals? Will he bring in more role players as he did with 3-point ace Kyle Korver in order to build a better challenge for the Warriors in the finals? How does he not compromise the squad needed to fight past rivals to reach the finals?

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“I know our front office is going to continue to try to put our ball club, put our franchise, in a position where we can compete for a championship year in and year out,” James said.

“Teams and franchises are going to be trying to figure out ways that they can put personnel together, the right group of guys together to be able to hopefully compete against this team. So we will see, but I will get away from the game a little bit.”

“As far as being back on the basketball court, I’m going to take a while,” he added. “I need to get off of my feet and let my joints and let my body kind of recover from being out on the floor for 14 straight years.”

– ‘Beat him to the gym’ –

Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors is congratulated by LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers after game five of the 2017 NBA Finals, at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California, on June 12 © GETTY/AFP / Thearon W. Henderson

James could opt out of his contract after next season, so he will want to see some progress. That could involve moving forward Kevin Love, who was only 2-for-8 for six points in the final game.

The Warriors figure to sign Curry to a five-year deal for about $205 million since he has taken less money in recent years to help finance a strong supporting cast.

Durant might be asked to do the same — take less than he might command elsewhere to allow Golden State to keep Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston without salary cap issues. It’s such unselfish nature that has helped the Warriors flourish.

“We don’t even have to speak about it,” Iguodala said. “That’s the culture that we built and it’s an amazing thing to see.”

And Durant knows James will soon be working on new ways to dethrone the Warriors.

“He’ll probably be back in the gym the start of July getting ready for next season, so I’ve probably got to beat him to the gym,” Durant said. “I’ve got nothing but love and respect for him and I can’t wait to compete against him again next season.”

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