July 4, 2016, 8:26 pm
Happy 4th of July to everyone, and what a 4th of July it was. With Kevin Durant announcing that he would decide between the Warriors and Thunder on Monday all BBQs and parties were on hold until the news broke. When it did happen it also broke the internet, here’s your Tuesday daily dish.
Could the 73-9 record that Dub nation set last season already be in danger? After news broke that Kevin Durant would be joining the Golden State Warriors one had to wonder.
Durant, the best player in the free agent pool this year announced via the Player Tribune that he would be leaving the Thunder and would be joining the Warriors. Durant intends to sign a two-year 54.3 million dollar contract with the second year being a player option.
The jersey burning in Oklahoma City began shortly afterwards and there were various negative tweets floating around criticizing Durant for taking the easy road to a championship. While opinions will vary, the fact remains that a starting line-up of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Pachulia (more on him later) becomes the most lethal starting five in the modern day NBA.
The domino effect that followed the Durant announcement was expected and it was the Dallas Mavericks that benefited the most. As a direct result of the Warriors reaching an agreement with Durant they were forced to rescind qualifying offers on both Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli, making them both unrestricted free agents.
Barnes quickly agreed to join the Mavs on a four-year 94 million dollar contract. Andrew Bogut was then informed that he would be sent to the Mavs for a future second round pick. Ezeli meanwhile was immediately linked to the Blazers, with other suitors surely coming forward in the next day or two. With the Warriors needing to replace Bogut they turned to Zaza Pachulia and swiftly agreed on a one-year 2.9 million dollar contract.
Once the dust settled from the Durant news other teams were then able to address some needs with minimal distractions. With the rumour that Tim Duncan was strongly leaning towards retirement it meant that the Spurs would need to find a replacement for the savvy legend, and a replacement they found. The Spurs and free agent forward Pau Gasol were rumoured to be extremely close on a two-year 30 million dollar contract. While the Raptors and Blazers were also in tthe mix for Gasol’s services, in the end, it looks like the Spurs will come out on top.
In other news, after reportedly offering Dwayne Wade a low-ball offer once free agency started, the Heat have reportedly reconsidered and offered Wade a new two-year 40 million dollar contract. Earlier reports this weekend had Wade possibly setting up meetings with the Milwaukee Bucks this week so it will be interesting to see if the new Heat offer is enough to keep him from flirting with other teams.
It was reported that Russell Westbrook would not be signing an extension with the Thunder this offseason. In fairness, it would not be in Westbrook’s best interest to sign an extension this offseason fully knowing that next year the salary cap will rise. With that in mind, the Thunder may not want to wait for him to possibly leave town next summer with no compensation so keep an ear to the ground as Westbrook trade rumours begin to dominate the airwaves.
The Knicks also made an interesting move coming to an agreement with free agent point guard Brandon Jennings on a one-year 5 million dollar contract. It seems like the Knicks have an interest in injury plagued point guards and with D Rose and Jennings now atop the point guard depth charts it seems like they have achieved their goal.
I’m @radiomunoz and that does it for another tasty dish. Keep it locked to hoop-ball.com and follow @hoopballtweets for the most up to date coverage on breaking NBA developments. With summer league games in full effect, expect more coverage as the summer months heat up.