July 4, 2016, 8:42 am
Kevin Durant announced his decision via The Players’ Tribune, and it’s going to shake the NBA to its core: KD will be joining Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the record setting Warriors.
While OKC was long rumored the favorite to keep Durant’s services, he apparently felt it was time for a change. Durant will now be part of something resembling a video game roster. The Warriors are immediately the overwhelming favorite to win everything imaginable next year. This is a lot more complicated than ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ but it’s hard to see an easier path to a title for KD. As a basketball fit, this is about as good as it gets. OKC had assembled a tremendous collection of talent to try and get over the top, but the top just got a million miles higher.
Some astute observers pointed out that Andrew Bogut changed his Twitter picture to one from his Australian National Team days, signaling that something was up re Bogut and the Warriors. Fitting in Durant’s salary necessitates losing Harrison Barnes and probably moving Bogut, but that’s a small price to pay for one of the best three players on the planet. Two of them just so happen to be teammates now.
Durant, obviously, was our top free agent on the market.
Durant also shared some love for Oklahoma City as a city and organization, citing his growth as a player and person during his Thunder stint.
With Durant’s decision made, the rest of the market should spring back into action as teams move to their Plan B. Early reports have the contract at two years and $54.3 million with a player option in the second year. It’s likely that Durant opts out next summer to maximize his earnings. The Warriors will have this season to climb the mountain but we should all be ready for the same song and dance next summer if they (somehow) don’t win the championship.