In perhaps one of the biggest and most shocking free agent signings in the history of the NBA, former league MVP Kevin Durant agrees to a two-year $54.3 million contract (with a player option, of course) with 2015 NBA Champion, the Golden State Warriors. Durant was everything ‘independent’ once he became free agent just days ago, but when the most sought out off-season talent made his LeBron esk decision today, there was nothing but fireworks on social media which drew nationwide attention. In a letter written by Durant entitled “My Next Chapter” which appeared on the Players’ Tribune, a mature Durant states he “understood cognitively what he was facing” at this stage of his life:
“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…’’(http://www.theplayerstribune.com/kevin-durant-nba-free-agency-announcement/)
Although Durant goes on in the letter to vocalize how dearly he will miss those indispensable relationships he established in Oklahoma City, the 9-year veteran poignantly gets to the overall reason his departure:
“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.”
As touching as this letter comes across, I just like many other NBA fans and critics was taken aback—and dismissively ticked-off—by Kevin’s decision to do the ole can’t beat em, join em with the Golden State Warriors. As if these here today gone tomorrow NBA contracts wasn’t bad enough, Durant opted to join the Warriors who compiled a 73-9 regular season record; and was the same team his Thunder pushed to a pivotal game seven of the Western Conference Finals. But I guess that’s what we’ve should have expected in this ‘new era’ NBA. Even though Durant’s loyalty to the Thunder persisted nine NBA seasons, it seemed like Durant is more concerned about not having an asterisk in his career notes which would denote him not winning a championship.
While I certainly understand how Durant may feel about the possibility of the leagues most coveted prize eluding him one day; but in this situation I feel he just totally overreacted. It’s not like I’m saying he’s wrong for exploring the market and meeting with other NBA teams. However, the operative word is OTHER teams such as Miami, Boston, San Antonio, and his hometown of Washington would have loved to see Kevin turn their franchises into a possible league powerhouse; but that didn’t happen. Instead, ‘Durantula’ will be aligning himself in sort of a contributor role (in my opinion) to an otherwise cohesive, fluid, unselfish offense of the Warriors. Though their defense will continue to be a question mark, offensively the “Splash Family” with Curry, Thompson, Green and KD, they should be the best scoring team in the sport. Just the mere thought of it has many avid fans drooling.
I wonder if King James is giving Durant the proverbial side eye because it was Durant who in 2010 sent a tweet about James joining the Heat to form the “Big Three.” In fact, it was that very same “Big Three” starring James, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh, who would eliminate KD and company in the 2012 NBA Finals. So is KD simply following in James’ footsteps in what could be the new wave of NBA superiors opting out of their contracts to form elite squads? Well LeBron went back to Cleveland where Kyrie and Kevin awaited. Meanwhile, Durant is traveling west to make some new friends in the Bay Area. Just remember this day and don’t be surprised if you start seeing the Chris Paul’s, the Paul George’s, heck even the Brian Westbrook’s of the league opt out their contracts just to devise another player conglomerate. If this does catch on (and I think it will), you better pray those young NBA draft hopefuls begin a basketball renaissance of talent; because those other teams are certainly going to need it.