On Monday, the NBA gave us some fireworks that will last much longer than the Roman candles and black cats that are still probably lingering in some garages across America.
Three-time Olympian and NBA superstar Kevin Durant announced in a post on PlayersTribune.com that he will leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, California. The move shocked many in the basketball world and was the talk of many barbecues and social media posts.
There are many layers as to the why and how, as well as what’s next for Durant, his new team, his old team and the NBA itself. While it’s not the first time we’ve seen this, it’s definitely one of the biggest movements in NBA history.
Did Kevin Durant sell out?
One of the biggest issues when it comes to Durant leaving the Thunder for the Warriors is what just happened over a month and a half ago. Durant’s OKC Thunder teammates were leading the Golden State Warriors 3-1 in a best-of-7 game series before the Warriors stormed back to win the series in seven dramatic games. Now, less than 48 hours after he’s left for the Warriors, the question must be asked: Did Kevin Durant sell out to finally win a title?
While it’s easy to say that he did, seeing as he’s leaving for the team that spoiled his chances for a title, I’m more inclined to say he’s more buying in than selling out.
Durant’s about to enter his 10th NBA season and he’s only had one NBA finals appearance – for someone as competitive as him, it’s about time he started playing for titles. He should no longer be content with just one NBA finals appearance, and the Warriors are his best viable option for winning titles.
What happens to the Thunder and Warriors?
This plate tectonic-like shift in the Western Conference is a major hit to the OKC franchise, who now is down to one superstar in Russell Westbrook. But Westbrook is going to be a free agent next summer, which is not good for OKC, who now has to consider trading Westbrook if he doesn’t want to be in Oklahoma for the long term. If they do trade him, though, it would give the Thunder a chance to grab assets to build for the future.
For the Warriors, this move to bring in Durant thrusts them right back into the discussion to win an NBA title. Durant at Golden State means you can easily place him into the small forward role that the recently departed Harrison Barnes played, so not many changes will be made and Golden State’s offense becomes even more scary.
The NBA stays winning with this move
You remember those Godzilla-like B-rated (sometimes C-rated) movies that came out in the ’60s and ’70s? Well, you can have the same type of build with the pending Warriors vs. Cavaliers games come next season. “King James against Chef Curry,” except this is actually more World Wrestling Entertainment than Godzilla.
It’s possible that we will see a third-straight NBA finals featuring the Cavaliers, as the defending world champions, and the Warriors, looking to get their title back with some added help in the form of Durant. “Warriors-Cavs III” coming June 2017? I’m in. We all should be in.