SAN FRANCISCO – Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry expects to play for the United States at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, telling ESPN this week: “That is the plan, for sure.”
The 31-year-old, a three-time NBA champion and two-time league MVP, has never played for a US Olympic squad, although he did help American teams win the FIBA World Cup in 2010 and 2014.
“I 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 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 players, finished seventh 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 can 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 come together next year.”
Curry and other big-name 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 said.
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 straight season when the 2019-20 campaign begins next month.
The only team to manage such a feat was the Boston Celtics dynasty squad that went to the Finals 10 times in a row from 1957-66 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 KD 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.
“We’re going to have to battle down the road, but this should be a fun, new experience.”
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 their roster.