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Kevin Durant Taking His Talents to Oakland

kevin-durant-stephen-curry

In the biggest NBA free agent move since LeBron James left and returned to Cleveland, Kevin Durant is joining the Golden State Warriors.

ESPN:

Kevin Durant is joining the Golden State Warriors.

Saying it has been “by far the most challenging few weeks in my professional life,” Durant announced his decision Monday in a post on The Players’ Tribune.

He is expected to sign a two-year, $54.3 million contract, sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein. The deal would include a player option after the first year.

“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,” Durant wrote. “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.

“With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors.”

The contract can be finalized July 7, when a leaguewide moratorium is lifted on signings and trades.

With Durant’s decision, the Warriors are unlikely to match the reported four-year, $95 million offer sheet that Harrison Barnes agreed to with the Dallas Mavericks.

Most of the prognosticators figured Durant’s free agent tour was an ego trip and that he would ultimately return to OKC. Not only did he and Russell Westbrook come within millimeters of upsetting Golden State and going to the NBA finals this season, the Thunder could pay him more money and his legacy would certainly be more favorably impacted by bringing a championship to the only team he’d ever played with than as a carpetbagger with what was already the NBA’s most talented team.

One would think that Golden State would be prohibitive favorites to win another championship with the addition of another Top 3 player. While I contend that LeBron is far and away the best player in the league, Stephen Curry is the reigning back-to-back MVP and Durant has one of those as well. Barnes is a fine player but no GM in the league would prefer him to Durant.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. steve s says:

    Well, someone’s going to have to put together a Superteam to oppose them.

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  2. Mister Bluster says:

    I have been a San Francisco Warriors fan since the days of Rick Barry.
    To say I was disappointed when they lost to Cleveland last month in the finals is an understatement.
    I can not predict the future but I sure hope KD joining the team will bring the NBA Championship Trophy back to the San Francisco Bay for years to come!
    Go Warriors!

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  3. Modulo Myself says:

    And in true Knicks style the singing of an overpriced semi-star fails to land the superstar. Guess they’re left with Dwight Howard.

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  4. Modulo Myself says:

    And in true Knicks style the singing of an overpriced semi-star fails to land the superstar. Guess they’re left with Dwight Howard.

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  5. James Pearce says:

    This move totally makes sense for both the Warriors and Durant. The Warriors need some size and Durant needs a ring.

    Sad days for the Thunder, though.

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  6. anjin-san says:

    The Warriors have been serious about getting Durant for a long time & this should resolve the teams issues that were exposed in the semis & finals.

    Bogut & Barnes are off to Dallas. Both good players and quality guys, I wish them well.

    Ezeli is almost certainly moving on as well & hopefully will find a good situation.

    I’m thinking the Warriors will also be looking to pick up a big man for rebounding & rim defense.

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  7. Davebo says:

    @Mister Bluster: If you aren’t going to call them Golden State I’d say the Oakland Warriors is more correct.

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  8. anjin-san says:

    @Davebo:

    The Warriors will be back in SF soon, they have been using the iconic “The City” logo quite a bit recently…

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  9. Mister Bluster says:

    @Davebo:..If you aren’t going to call them Golden State blah blah blah

    Well Zippy, I’m talking about when Rick Barry played for the San Francisco Warriors 1965-1967 after the franchise left Philidalphia in 1962 where they were the Philadelphia Warriors.

    (Extra Credit if you know the name of the home court for the San Francisco Warriors.
    Hint: The Republican Party nominated General Eisenhower and Tricky Dick for elective office at this place in 1956. I remember watching it on TV.)

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  10. Guarneri says:

    I thought it was the Cow Palace. But who cares? The Bulls would have creamed them, with or without Barry, or with Durant.

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  11. Dazedandconfused says:

    I’m a big Billy Donovan fan, and frankly I thought that, on the whole, he was gonna wish he’d stayed in Gainesville. OKC with Durant and Westbrook had years old ingrained bad habits. For most of the year it was indeed same ol’ same ol’, hero-ball whenever the pucker factor hit five on a ten scale. During the playoffs it wasn’t the same though, took a pucker factor of 8.5 or better. I suppose he decided to be very extra careful in the reeling-in of Westbrook in order to not yank out the hook. So far, so good.

    Nevertheless they panicked. “I thought we were past that.” Billy said. Not quite.

    Durant’s leaving may be a blessing in disguise for them. It really might. Now everybody on that team knows it’s time for a new plan, and they have come to believe in Billy, for good reason. GS showed them how it should be done as well. Now they can start fresh.

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  12. Mister Bluster says:

    @Guarneri:..The Bulls would have creamed them,..

    In 1975 the Chicago Bulls and the Warriors were both in the NBA Western Conference. Rick Barry and company beat the Bulls 4-3 in the Western Conference Finals and the Warriors went on to sweep the Washington Bullets 4-0 for the NBA Title. I saw that on TV.
    Legend has it that Barry, who shot free throws underhanded,
    could make ten out of ten FT…blindfolded.
    I did not see that.

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  13. Moderate Mom says:

    Heck, Mike Conley of the Grizzlies is making more than Durant. His contract (153 million over 5 years) make him the highest paid player in the NBA right now.

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  14. al-Alameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    This move totally makes sense for both the Warriors and Durant. The Warriors need some size and Durant needs a ring.

    Sad days for the Thunder, though.

    If I was into schadenfreude I’d note that Clay Bennett is getting some karma payback for moving the Seattle Sonics to Oklahoma City.

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  15. Guarneri says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    The point was that the current Warriors or a current Warriors team with a Barry would have lost. Try to keep up.

    The Warriors were on their way to a championship when James said the Cavs were going to get physical. Then a sweep occurred. Just like Barkley said. Just as the Bulls would have.

    Case closed.

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  16. Mister Bluster says:

    @Guarneri:..Keeping up with your day dreams is not one of my goals in life.

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  17. anjin-san says:

    James said the Cavs were going to get physical.

    I think you mean “when James told the league to suspend Draymond Green, and they complied”…

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