SAN FRANCISCO, United States, Sep 18 – Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry says he expects to play for the United States at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, telling ESPN: “That is the plan, for sure.”
The 31-year-old guard, a three-time NBA champion and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, has never played for a US Olympic squad, although he did help American teams win the 2010 and 2014 Basketball World Cups.
“Definitely want to go,” Curry said of the Olympics. “I’ve never been on the Olympic team. I’ve been on two World Cup championship gold medal teams, but the Olympics is the experience that I want. And next year hopefully will be it.”
The Americans, with a squad of mostly younger and lesser-known NBA talents, finished seventh last week at this year’s World Cup in China, with Spain taking the title and raising concern about whether or not a US team of NBA stars could win a fourth consecutive Olympic title next year in Japan.
“We’re still the best,” Curry said. “If we get the guys that are supposed to be there, in terms of, you know, representing us in the Olympic stage and commitment has been there, and I think it will be there next year.”
Curry and other big-name US NBA players are expected to fill out next year’s Olympic roster. The squad could potentially include James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and Paul George.
“Obviously knock on wood, you don’t want any injuries or things like that to interfere,” Curry told ESPN in the interview.
Among the assistants to US national team coach Gregg Popovich is Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
Curry and the Warriors will attempt to reach the NBA Finals for a sixth consecutive season when the 2019-20 campaign begins next month. The only team to manage such a feat was the Boston Celtics dynasty team that went to the Finals 10 times in a row from 1957-1966 and won nine titles in that span.
Golden State will move into a new $1 billion arena in San Francisco but will be without Kevin Durant, who left after last season to join the Brooklyn Nets. A torn Achilles tendon figures to sideline Durant for all of the upcoming campaign.
“At the end of the day, we live in an age where choice (is) at the forefront and K made a decision for himself and you can’t argue that,” Curry told ESPN. “He’s an unbelievable talent, unbelievable person. We accomplished a lot together.
“But things have changed a little bit. So you obviously wish him the best, obviously with his recovery first and foremost and things on and off the court. But we’re going to have to battle down the road. So this should be a fun, new experience on that front too.”
The Warriors must also wait for guard Klay Thompson to recover from a knee injury but they will welcome D’Angelo Russell, obtained from Brooklyn in the sign and trade deal for Durant, as they revamp the roster next season.