OAKLAND — Wow. I didn’t really think that there was a chance that Kevin Durant was going to come to California. If I had to put a percentage on it prior to this decision, I would have said it was a 1% chance. I fully expected him to return to Oklahoma City and contend for another title. I cannot imagine how Thunder fans must feel right now. Crushed.
On the flip side, Dubs fans across the world are rejoicing. Not in the sense that titles will be automatic but in the sense that the Warriors will most likely get a lot of wins; after all they were without adding Durant.
With Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and the reigning MVP, Steph Curry all with the ability to shoot great from behind the arch and drive to the basket in the paint, it’s going to be extremely tough to defend. They may still have a weakness at center and this almost certainly guarantees a departure of Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes. They did however draft Damian Jones, a player who compares a lot to Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat.
There still needs to be a gelling and chemistry which may take a few games early in the season. Expectations need to be tempered early on because it will take time. The Warriors will not go 82-0 like some fans may be, knee-jerkingly, claiming. I fully expect a rough start.
The one caveat now is that how will this effect the Warriors “team ball” concept. Will there be enough shots to go around? Will Durant buy in to Steve Kerr’s concepts and philosophy? The short answer would point to yes, yes he will buy in. Why? He is joining the team. If he wasn’t willing to sell out, he would have kept his star status and 25-30 points a game in Oklahoma City; or somewhere else that desperately needs a star.
The Warriors do make some sacrifices with this move. The will not have as good as a defense. Durant is not the defender that Barnes was. But will Steve Kerr get Durant to become a serviceable defender?
While there are a lot of questions that cannot be answered until basketball starts, on the surface, this seems like it is a good move if Kerr can get them all to buy in; which he hasn’t had a problem with since taking over for Mark Jackson who was let go at the end of the 2014 Season.
Durant wrote this on The Players Tribune:
This has been by far the most challenging few weeks in my professional life. I understood cognitively that I was facing a crossroads in my evolution as a player and as a man, and that it came with exceptionally difficult choices. What I didn’t truly understand, however, was the range of emotions I would feel during this process.
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. 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.
I’m from Washington, D.C. originally, but Oklahoma City truly raised me. It taught me so much about family as well as what it means to be a man. There are no words to express what the organization and the community mean to me, and what they will represent in my life and in my heart forever. The memories and friendships are something that go far beyond the game. Those invaluable relationships are what made this deliberation so challenging.
It really pains me to know that I will disappoint so many people with this choice, but I believe I am doing what I feel is the right thing at this point in my life and my playing career.
I will miss Oklahoma City, and the role I have had in building this remarkable team. I will forever cherish the relationships within the organization — the friends and teammates that I went to war with on the court for nine years, and all the fans and people of the community. They have always had my back unconditionally, and I cannot be more grateful for what they have meant to my family and to me.
The contract is for 2-years with the second year being an option. The contract in it’s totality is worth $54.3 million dollars USD once it is officially signed.