Stephen Curry and LeBron James have developed something of a rivalry by meeting in the NBA Finals the past four years. But now that James has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, they no longer can go head-to-head with a championship on the line.
Instead, at best, the Lakers and Golden State Warriors will meet for the right to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. Curry can take some solace in going 3-1 against James and the Cleveland Cavaliers when the Larry O’Brien trophy was at stake.
In addition to trading off meetings in Finals for those in the Western Conference Finals, Curry and James will also have four regular-season matchups for at least the next three years.
That aspect excites the three-time champion, who still remembers the years when the Warriors weren’t a powerhouse and had to play the Lakers, according to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press:
“And a whole new-look Laker team with some of the young kids. It should be fun, the Bay Area and L.A. and the whole thing,” Curry said Monday in a sit-down with The Associated Press while hosting his annual elite camp at Ultimate Fieldhouse. “When I first got into the league Oracle would be buzzing any time the Lakers came in. There probably will be a revolution of Laker fans that are going to try to creep in but I hope Bay Area and Dub Nation we keep control of that competition because we’re on top right now.”
Shortly after James announced his decision to sign with the Lakers, Curry reminded that it is the Warriors who are the defending champions and the class of the NBA. The two-time MVP also said he isn’t yet certain what to make of the Lakers considering they will need to develop a new identity.
While that holds true, it can be presumed the Lakers will take a defensive-minded approach in their quest to unseat the Warriors. Rather than fill out a roster around James with prototypical shooters, the Lakers opted for playmakers who can have an impact on both ends of the court.