The fireworks started early this fourth of July. Kevin Durant, the NBA’s most prized free agent of the off season, decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors which led to the biggest commotion from NBA fans since LeBron James’ “Decision” in 2010. Durant’s deal with the Warriors (2 years/$54.3 million) ends a season long speculation of where the seven time league all star would end up. His decision, to join a team coming off 73 wins in the regular and a minute away from a second consecutive NBA Championship. Is it shocking that KD wanted to be apart of the Warriors? Not at all. Whats shocking and what I still can’t get over is that it actually happened.
There are countless reasons why it is still so shocking KD decided to leave OKC. To me, what is still so crazy is that he actually left. To me, Durant was one of the first players in a while who prided himself on being the alpha. An all star who wanted the responsibility of being the guy and actually being the guy! Now he’s going to a team with arguably 3 alphas, to a team that beat him in this past Western Conference Finals. At least when LeBron made his decision in 2010, he didn’t join the Boston Celtics that beat him that year in the Eastern Conference Finals. You don’t befriend the school yard bully after he kicks your ass in front of the whole cafeteria, right? Over the past 9 seasons, Durant gave off this persona of a home body, a guy who “Don’t care where I’m at, as long as I’m hoopin’”. A guy who six years ago called out free agents who were joining together to form a super team in Miami via Twitter. And Russ. Russell Westbrook, the NBA’s loose cannon, the NBA’s “Phoenix” if you will. Who wouldn’t want to play with Russell Westbrook? A five tool basketball player with the physique of a running back who you could say is on the brink of really harnessing all of that talent. Why would anyone leave and not want to play with Westbrook and a team that was so, so close to getting back to the Finals. When you think about it though, I honestly don’t blame him.
History, its something that everyone loves to be a part of. Scientists, movie stars, politicians, and especially athletes. In todays NBA being a part of history means a lot and in some cases, athletes will do whatever they can to join in. You shouldn’t blame or be mad a Durant for joining the Warriors. With Durant on the team, they have arguably the best starting line up of all time. The chance to play with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Three all stars who are entering the prime of their careers along with KD. “Not one, not two, not three…” Yes, it might be a little early for me to start saying that, but is it really? Kevin Durant to the Warriors co und be one of the pivotal moments in the NBA’s history. It could change the way teams are formed for the next 10 years and lets be honest, could be the start of one of the most dominating dynasties sports have ever seen. Not to mention, we’ll be seeing some of the most beautiful, efficient basketball ever. Who doesn’t want to see that? Lets be honest, as exciting and as promising as the Thunder have looked over the years, especially last years playoffs, they were done. Losing the western conference finals after being up 3-1? That’ll hurt, especially in the way the Thunder lost. There is no doubt in my mind that the Game 6 loss was the pivotal moment that made KD realize the Warriors are the team he wants to play for. Playing with Westbrook has to be fun, but more frustrating then anything. When you’re one of the top 3 players in the league, you need to have the ball majority of the game. Westbrook’s rage to win is unmatched but that rage to win turns into solo rage and it was getting old, and I’m sure getting old for Durant too. It was time for a change. After some questionable moves made by OKC’s front office, its a no surprise Durant signed with a team that makes things happen, or in this case have already had them happen. For Durant, it was time for a change, and I think us as fans were ready for him to have a change too. The change is here and if it hasn’t already, it should change the game.
The Durant decision comes at a time when player alliances are the norm, a time when monstrous television deals come into play, and when the NBA free agency is becoming more pivotal then the actual season. Will Durant joining the Warriors hurt his position with the NBA hierarchy? Who knows, and honestly who are we to decide. It doesn’t matter if what he did was cowardly or a chump move. We need to see how this all plays out first and then we’ll talk. Its an exciting time to be a basketball fan and we need to appreciate what is about to come. The NBA’s most poetic basketball team is now the league villains and there is nothing we can do about it. My advice? Buckle up, and enjoy the ride.