Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022
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Stephen Curry might be recruiting his own successor as the Bay Area's biggest star

Welcome to Layup Lines, our basketball newsletter where we’ll prep you for a tip-off of tonight’s action, from what to watch to bets to make. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox every afternoon.

Stephen Curry is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. That leaves him as undoubtedly the San Francisco Bay Area’s biggest star. Between the Warriors, 49ers, Giants and Athletics, and every pro team in between, no active athlete in that area is more beloved than Curry.

But the reigning Finals MVP can’t carry that mantle forever. Curry is 34 years old, and he’ll be 35 before this season is over. Before you know it, someone younger and more exciting will come along to capture the Bay Area’s admiration.

Curry might be recruiting that person.

Arguably the biggest star in Major League Baseball, AL MVP Aaron Judge is a free agent and taking trips to visit prospective teams. One of those teams is the one he grew up rooting for, the San Francisco Giants.

Judge had a two-day visit with the Giants this week, and according to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic, Curry was a part of the team’s pitch. The Giants reportedly put one MVP in contact with the other, and it was truly a shot worth taking. I mean, if Curry could talk Kevin Durant into joining the team that beat him, then why not try?

Curry won’t say this (or believe it), but the Warriors might be on the way out as a perennial title contender. Even Steve Kerr admitted their championship core is in the “final stages.”

Judge isn’t exactly a spring chicken at 30 years old, but he’s coming off his best season and likely has a few more MVP-caliber years ahead of him. If he joins the Giants and elevates them back to contender status just as the Warriors are declining, he’ll capture the hearts of Bay Area sports fans at just the right time.

It’ll be one more thing those fans have to thank Curry for.

The Tip-Off

Some NBA goodness from around the USA TODAY Sports network.

AP Photo/Darryl Webb

If you stayed up late enough to catch the end of Lakers-Sun on Tuesday, you probably saw Patrick Beverley get ejected for his hard push on Deandre Ayton.

Devin Booker was asked about the push after the game and said Beverley needs to “stop pushing people in the back,” likely remembering when Beverley did something similar to Chris Paul a year ago.

This really should have been a non-story, because, well, everyone did what they were supposed to do. When Beverley shoved Ayton, he was coming to the defense of a younger teammate and setting some much-needed boundaries as to what the Lakers would and wouldn’t tolerate — even if it meant he had to get ejected.

And when Booker called out Beverley, he was also defending his teammates.

But fans don’t forget, so they re-surfaced the time Booker pushed LA’s Dennis Schroeder mid-air…and not in the chest. Somehow, Booker came out on the wrong end of something that didn’t involve him at all.

One to Watch

(All odds via Tipico.)

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks (+150) at Boston Celtics (-4.5, -185), O/U 218.5, 7:30 PM ET

The reason you watch this game is because it features two of my top three MVP favorites right now, Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum. Doncic leads the league in scoring at 33.5 points per game, but he tied his season-low of 22 the last time Dallas played. That was on Sunday. With a little more rest coming into this one, I think Doncic bounces back and helps the Mavs cover on the road.

Shootaround

— Ja Morant blew a potential game-tying free throw after taunting Malik Monk

— How ‘Light the Beam’ became the Kings’ rallying cry

HoopsHype compiled a list of active players who have already done enough to get their jerseys retired

— Steph Curry said he’s never seen anything like 2016 LeBron James and Kyrie Irving

List

How ‘LIGHT THE BEAM’ became a rallying cry (and meme) of the Kings’ resurgent season

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