After a whirlwind tour of teams that included the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat, who all made their pitch to the former MVP, but in the end it came down to his old squad, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. It didn’t take Durant long after ending his tour on Saturday July 2nd, as he made his decision today, Monday July 4th!
Durant announced his decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder in a post this morning on The Players’ Tribune.
“The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player, as that has always steered me in the right direction,” Durant explained. “But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth.”
“With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors.”
That’s starts the debate on why would you leave the Thunder, a team that came within seconds of eliminating the Warriors in the Western finals, to head to the Bay Area.
Maybe it was the fact that they collapsed twice in the fourth quarter after earning a 3-1 lead in the series, and were less than five minutes away from winning it all, with leads of eight and nine points late in the game.
Maybe it was his apparent frustration with the play of teammates in those games, or maybe it was the opportunity to make the move now, potentially win a title with a team that will be (on paper) better than the one that won 73 games and came within a jump shot of repeating as NBA champions!
Then to have an opt out clause (which he will have after one year) when he will have the potential to be eligible to acquire 35% of the available cap increase that the Warriors will have to pay to keep him; even though he will be making 54.3 million dollars over the next two seasons if he just stays put. These are all questions that he and the Warriors will be answering in the near future as they get ready to hit the hardwood together next year.
Many are already looking to proclaim that the Warriors, with Durant, could become the greatest team ever. And on paper, with the exchange of Durant for Harrison Barnes (now with the Dallas Mavericks) plus the return of Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Igoudala, Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli, and two-time MVP Steph Curry, coupled with the addition of David West and Zaza Pechulia, it would appear they are a massive favorite to de-throne LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But, with that expectation will come an immense pressure, like the Heat felt in Miami, when everyone expected them to win four straight (they went 2-2), so don’t go betting the house just yet, as we need to see how all the pieces come together, can the last two MVP’s find the right mesh, will Klay and Draymond work to make the current three musketeers into the future Four Horseman for the Warriors.
All legitimate concerns that will weigh on the shoulders of Kevin Durant, his new teammates and Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. The kind of problem that 29 other teams in the NBA would definitely love to work out.
Look for more on Durant’s decision, its affect on the NBA, and what other NBA free agents will make immediate impacts on the teams they decide to sign with, right hear at TheBasketballChannel.net.