Kevin Durant announced Monday (July 4) on The Players’ Tribune that he will join the Golden State Warriors, a decision that sent shockwaves through the NBA.
Durant’s decision came after a weekend of meetings with potential suitors – including the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat – with only slight indications of where he might be leaning.
“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.”
Durant is expected to sign a two-year, $54.3 million contract, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. The deal would include a player option after the first year, giving him an opportunity to maximize on his earning potential when the salary cap increases again next season. The deal can’t officially be signed until July 7, when the NBA’s moratorium for signings and trades ends.
Last season, Durant averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists and led the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals before bowing out to the Warriors after a heartbreaking seven-game series.
Now he joins a roster that features the reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry, sharpshooter Klay Thompson and versatile Draymond Green to form a juggernaut, which is an impressive feat considering the Warriors are coming off a historic 73-win campaign.
But the addition of the four-time scoring champion will come at a cost, as the team will have to sacrifice some of its depth to make the salary cap numbers work. Golden State is unlikely to re-sign Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli, leaving a significant hole in the frontcourt.
With the free agent market mostly settled, Golden State’s front office will have to get creative in filling the remaining roster spots. But those concerns are for a later date, as now is the time for the team and its fans to celebrate the fireworks of landing the biggest offseason prize.
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