The All-Star break is a great time to sit back, watch the various meaningless spectacles, and reflect on what has transpired in the NBA thus far. When doing such, it’s hard to not think about the biggest offseason move made since Lebron James’ “The Decision”.
I am referring to of course, Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors. The move caught most of the NBA world by surprise, and was the topic of discussion all day, every day, for about two solid months. For the most part, everyone questioned his decision. People went so far as to call Durant a “coward”, that being one the kindest insults spoken. As a result of all this constant criticism, I was left (four months later) wondering myself why he chose to come the Warriors. After some deep thought, I arrived at the same conclusion that Kevin Durant did… The Golden State Warriors was the best place for him.
It seems best to point out the one reason that Durant didn’t go to the Warriors… Salary. Had Durant stayed in Oklahoma City, he would have been able to get the largest contract available. By going to the Warriors, KD sacrificed about seven million dollars a year, as well a max length possibility of only fours years, instead of five with OKC. However, this is negated by the fact that Durant can make generous proportions off of branding in the corporation laden Bay Area rather then Oklahoma City.
Now to the important part, why he joined: My goal is not to put words in Durants mouth, but to instead make accurate inferences as to what he was thinking. One such thought would be that Durant felt as though he could not win a championship with Russell Westbrook. As talented as Westbrook is, he reminds me of a younger, more energetic version of Carmelo Anthony. Both are fringe hall of fame players, both are extremely talented, and both seem to repel other stars from joining them. This leads to the second reason Durant joined the Dubs, he wanted to actually be passed the ball. While in Oklahoma City, Durant averaged five less shots then Westbrook, while shooting 7% better from the field. Even having won the MVP and four consecutive scoring titles, KD was taking a back seat to a lesser player. Now, were he winning titles, I am sure that Durant would have been content taking this secondary role. However the Thunder had yet to win a title, even with teams containing Serge Ibaka and James Harden.
In the end, it came down to the old saying “if you can’t beat em, join em”. The Thunder played the best basketball they have ever played in their series against the Warriors, yet it still wasn’t even to secure a victory or make their second finals appearance. As a result, Durant figured that there was no way the team would be able to beat the Warriors as they did not have the requisite pieces. Not wanting to be one of those NBA all time greats relegated to the category of “never won a title”, Durant did the only reasonable thing he could; go to the team that would give him the best chance to win a (if not multiple) titles.
In conclusion, Durant not only did the best thing for himself in choosing the Warriors, but also the best thing anyone could have done in his given situation