Had Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry, your 2014-2015 NBA MVP, gotten his way on draft day in June 2009, he would've been a New York Knick. Just over two weeks away from the 2015 Draft lottery (one in which the Knicks are set to score their highest pick since that fateful 2009 Draft), Curry's agent told Yahoo! Sports the story behind Curry's fall in the 2009 Draft.
According to agent Jeff Austin, Curry and his family (including his father, former NBA player Dell Curry) wanted him to fall to the Knicks' No. 8 pick in the draft.
"The Knicks had eight and we thought in New York he'd be a great fit. We really wanted him to drop to eight," Austin said. "Once we got to seventh, we were like, 'C'mon man, don't pick him with [Golden State].' At the time, the Warriors were not in our mind as a preferred destination."
In the pre-draft process, Austin and Curry even curved all the teams picking before the Knicks. Determined to see his client slide to New York, Austin didn't allow Curry to workout for small-market teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Minnesota Timberwolves. Still fearful that the Warriors would pick Curry at No. 7, one spot ahead of the Knicks, Austin sent a very clear message to then-Warrior GM Larry Riley: Don't even think about it.
"I said, 'Larry, I like you a lot and respect you a lot, but don't take Steph. This is not the right place for him,' " Austin said. "We wanted him in New York."
Riley reverberated Austin's sentiments, telling Yahoo! Sports that Dell was perhaps the most adamant of them all: "Dell was the same way. He was almost cold."
The Knicks thought they'd get Curry too. They had heard about the Warriors' interest in Curry, but didn't feel like they had to move up to get him, because the Warriors already had a star guard in Monta Ellis. Austin warned the Knicks that the Warriors' interest was, despite their best efforts, serious enough, but the Knicks were willing to call the Warriors' bluff. Turns out, they weren't bluffing.
Riley was too high on Curry to pass him up. He didn't even need Curry to consent to a private team workout.
Riley, however, didn't need a workout since he was already high on Curry after seeing him play against Purdue early in his junior season. Riley liked him even more during a predraft camp interview, ranked him the second-best player behind Griffin and likened him to two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash.
"I had him as the second-best player in that draft," Riley told Yahoo! Sports as Curry accepted his MVP award yesterday. "But now I'm wrong. He was the best player."
Knicks fans, don't get THAT disappointed. Remember: The Knicks are still the Knicks, and Steph Curry in 2009 was a MUCH different player than the perimeter freak you see today. Here's what would've happened anyway:
Too bad the Knicks didn't get to draft Steph Curry, misuse him, then include him in the Melo trade.— RUSS BENGT$ON (@russbengtson) May 4, 2015
As Curry closed his MVP acceptance speech, he was (duh) thankful for how everything's worked out. "Crazy how far we've come in six years," said Curry. But thank you, man. I can't thank you [Larry Riley] enough for that decision."
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[via Yahoo! Sports]