The best celebration for the Fourth of July is undoubtedly to watch fireworks, but for NBA star Kevin Durant, he wanted to spark fireworks. Durant, 28, announced that he was leaving Oklahoma City to pursuit a second chapter of his career in San Fransisco and play for the Golden State Warriors. This letter from the superstar spread across the nation like a wildfire, some reactions good and some not-so-good. My mother always tells me that “almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades” and that quote truly applies to how Durant made his decision. KD has had moments in his career where he has “almost” been great, but he comes up slightly short. The biggest free agent move in NBA history certainly raised the question if joining the team with the best record in the league and the team that sent you back home to ponder your free agent decision was the correct move for his future, and not just the easy way out.
First, this is not the easy way out at all. I believe that this move could be a great move for a few teams for a few reasons. to start, this is the best move for Durant, hands down. NBA legend and the man who is the logo of the league, Jerry West, met with Durant to discuss how to go through your prime years and still be successful. West advised him to “learn how to grow old gracefully,” which boils down to surrounding yourself with better players so that you do not have to carry the scoring load every night. Going that route – defense and play making abilities come in to factor whereas we might not necessarily focus on those aspects of his game (Although he has no problems in those areas.) I feel like the world got a glimpse of how to make the Warriors vulnerable during the last two series that GSW had to play. The common theme was a lot of attack Steph Curry, then look to take advantage of the two v one in the paint. With a projected line up of Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Durant, and Green, there may be some advantages of getting one of their players posted up. But realistically, all five of those mentioned players could switch on the perimeter and handle their business. The struggle for the world would be finding five defenders on a your team that could guard the entire floor on a consistent basis. Addressing the elephant in the room, there is only one ball on the court during a game. So finding shots for the starting group could end up being difficult for coach Steve Kerr, but I think he would not mind having those issues.
GSW had to let go of Harrison Barnes to make room for KD. This allowed Mark Cuban to bring Barnes in to his Dallas organization to join a rebuilding Mavericks team. It may be too early to tell, but this is looking like the missing piece that Dallas may very well need. They were a strong scorer and defensive presence away from being a solid team last year, Barnes will provide that. They will also acquire Andrew Bogut from the Warriors as well. Bogut could pair very well with Dirk Nowitzki and provide rebounding for the Mavs.
People are forgetting that OKC is not going anywhere. They have a new coach who did almost the best you could do in a first-year with a team, they just brought in Victor Oladipo who should provide a spark immediately. Not to mention they still have one of the top point guards in the league in Russell Westbrook, who has really taken control over the Oklahoma City organization in the recent years. They got rid of Serge Ibaka as well which could end up being a very solid move getting Enes Kanter more playing time.
It is crazy to think that one move could be so colossal as Durant’s free agency decision. People want to compare this decision to what LeBron James did in 2010 by choosing to leave Cleveland to join a team that became a powerhouse in Miami. I agree that LBJ was the only player that really mattered on the Cavs and that Durant, Westbrook, and their teammates were one game away on three occasions from getting the Thunder back to the NBA Finals. I believe that KD has really put forth his maximum effort in the city of Oklahoma City over his nine years with the Seattle-turned-Oklahoma City franchise. He reached the MVP level, but he was “almost” great on several instances. Durant’s competitiveness could not allow him to be “almost” great when he works so hard to be the best. I can see Golden State raising another championship banner within the next couple of years after this move.
…Unless the Cleveland Cavaliers can sign Dwayne Wade (what if?)