NBA Free Agency 2106: KD Joins the Warriors
Well, you can't say the NFL dominates the entire sports calendar anymore, because the NBA has done a damn great job of it in 2016. Coming off a fantastic NBA season where the all time wins record was broken and set by the Golden State Warriors, the NBA was riding high into the Playoffs.
Then after opening rounds which saw the most blowouts ever, the league treated us to back to back dramatic series finishes, when the Warriors came back t beat the Thunder after trailing 3-1. Then the Cavs, led by Lebron James, roared back after trailing 3-1 to the defending champions, and brought the NBA title to Cleveland. Great drama to end a great league year.
Well, it didn't end there, as the big question all season was, "What will Kevin Durant do in free agency?" Many thought KD would choose to stay in OKC because they had such a great year and were one win away from making the NBA Finals. Another reason for KD to resign was the fact that the Thunder could pay him the most money. Another reason to resign was the fact that this was only head coach Billy Donovan's first year, and the team could continue to improve. But the biggest reason was the fact that he could sign a deal which give him an opt out clause next year, and he and Russel Westbrook would be free agents at the same time together. All great reasons. Well....
The Sports world shook on Monday, the 4th of July, as Kevin Durant announced he would be leaving Oklahoma City, and joining the defending Western Conference champions, the Golden State Warriors. Wait What?
I can't lie, as a unabashed fan of the San Antonio Spurs, I immediately became nervous. What the hell!! Kevin Durant, possibly the 2nd or 3rd, (depends how you rank them) player in the world was leaving his team to join his rivals team. Yes the same team that just came back from a 3-1 deficit on him, and beat him. Immediately social media went on the attack and criticized KD for making the punk move to join a already loaded Warriors team that broke the wins record last season. ESPN had great reaction after the news broke on Monday and one man had a pretty "Hot Take" in the immediate aftermath that some of his contemporaries disagreed with.
On Tuesday morning, Stephan A didn't shy away from his opinion.
Personally, I don't knock a man for making a decision for his career that he feels will make him happy. Maybe he felt he ran his course in OKC and was ready to move on. I know had he signed with the Spurs many would claim he was running to a better franchise, and I wouldn't criticize him for coming to my team, so I don't want to be a hypocrite. But it is crazy that you would go to the team that is your rising rival. I thought for sure he would sign and opt out next year if Westbrook was going to leave. But no, he bounced.
Many have said it would be like in the 80's if Jordan couldn't beat the Pistons, he decided to sign with them. I understand that. He is a true superstar going to join a team with the most wins ever. Great basketball move, but it takes credit from his greatness.
Many have compared it to Lebron leaving Cleveland for Miami. But i disagree. That team was put together, with Lebron and Bosh joining Wade and a Miami team with cap room. Durant is coming to a team that is already established and won a title together. He will come in to be another piece to the puzzle.
I am torn on calling the move weak, like Stephan A said, or just calling it smart. But either way, they will be a problem. We will discuss other moves made around the league next week, but teams will have to step their game up and makes some moves if they want to compete with this All Star lineup.