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Durant: “Glad” Warriors lost to Cavs, paved way for signing

Kevin Durant admits that he probably would not have signed with the Warriors had they won the championship last season.

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Kevin Durant just confirmed what many of us have long suspected: If the Warriors had won the championship against the Cavaliers, he most likely would not have signed with the team.

Durant addressed the issue, among others, as he, Bob Myers, Joe Lacob, and Andre Iguodala appeared on a panel at Stanford, where the University was honoring the Warriors with the Entrepreneurial Company of the Year (ENCORE) Award. It’s an incredibly prestigious award, previously won by companies such as Netflix, LinkedIn, Google, and Apple. The Warriors are the first sports organization to win the award.

So, after dodging “the question” for the past few months, Durant finally chose this moment—surrounded by brilliant business minds, deep in tech country—to answer.

(Via Mercury News’ Anthony Slater, who provided excellent coverage of the entire event):

Moderator: “Would [the Warriors winning the championship] have made [signing with them] less interesting to you?”

Durant: “I was telling one of my friends, Rich (Kleiman, his agent), who’s here, we were watching Game 7. Well, as it started to unfold, it was, ‘No question, no way could you go to this team.’ And I was just like a kid, like, in a candy shop. I’d get wide open 3s, I could just run up and down the court, get wide open layups. I was basically begging him. I was like, yo, this would be nice. So as I was thinking about my decision and who I was gonna play for, this team came to mind. You know, as they lost, it became more and more real every day. You start to think about it even more. To see if I would fit. Then once I sat down with these guys, everything that I wanted to know about them they kinda showed me. But we don’t have to talk about it though because they didn’t get the job done and they came after me and who knows what would’ve happened. But I guess you could say I’m glad that they lost.”

There’s a lot to unpack here, but re-reading his answer makes me feel giddy in my own special little way, so let’s wade through it together.

1.) “As it started to unfold, it was, ‘No question, no way could you go to this team.’”

This was Rich Kleiman’s initial thought. Durant makes it seem like his top pick was always the Warriors, but his agent persisted in trying to talk him out of it because—come on—no way he could go the Warriors and not create a fire storm of controversy (see: exactly what ended up happening). But, as the Warriors slipped closer and closer to dropping a 3-1 lead of their own, Durant began to day dream about the glorious possibilities.

2.) “And I was just like a kid, like, in a candy shop. I’d get wide open 3s, I could just run up and down the court, get wide open layups. I was basically begging him. I was like, yo, this would be nice.”

This pretty much sums up how I felt when I decided to ask my wife to marry me. [[Thinking: We’ll take awesome trips, we’ll take care of each other. I like you, you like me. Alright, this could happen!]] Aka, the “Yo, this would be nice” moment. We’ve all been there. It’s a glorious moment when life’s sweet possibilities stretch forward in a seemingly endless road of contentment, happy thoughts, and prodigious accomplishments.

3.) “So as I was thinking about my decision and who I was gonna play for, this team came to mind. You know, as they lost, it became more and more real every day. You start to think about it even more. To see if I would fit.”

Beyond the initial brain-whirl of first falling in love comes the more practical, “Wait, shit, okay is this actually gonna work? I mean, I think it’s gonna work. But am I crazy? Or can I pull this off?”

Followed by:

4.) “Then once I sat down with these guys, everything that I wanted to know about them they kinda showed me.”

This is basically when y’all move in together and figure out how you’re gonna pay bills, who is in charge of buying the cat food, who gets to sleep on which side of the bed, and who gets to take the last second shot in the NBA Finals.

5.) “But we don’t have to talk about it though because they didn’t get the job done and they came after me and who knows what would’ve happened. But I guess you could say I’m glad that they lost.”

The final level of joy: Throwing subtle shade at their ex-partner (in this case I’m gonna say the ex is Harrison Barnes). “Oh, yeah, that’s really too bad it didn’t work out. Nah, for real, I’m sorry. Really I am. But, no worries, we’ll get over it together by, as I said earlier, shooting wide open threes, running up and down the court, getting wide open layups. You know, no biggie. Just dominating the league.”

During the course of the panel at Stanford, Joe Lacob actually revealed that Durant may have tipped his hand the day before the big announcement.

As we move closer and closer to launch, I feel like a kid in a candy store myself. Sure, it’ll take a while for the team to find a way to continually reach their upper-echelon gears, both on offense and defense. It’ll take a while to find that consistency. But if that Clippers game is any indication, man...

Watch out.

For now, we finally have the answer we needed. Sure, it sucks that the Warriors gave up a 3-1 lead in the Finals. Yeah, I get it. I’m still not quite over it either. But, at least now we have proof that losing the championship led straight to the Kevin Durant signing.

I’m okay with that.

#LightYears

(h/t BornInDaEB and UnRec’able for first posting pieces of this in #SplashZone, and of course h/t to Mercury News’ Anthony Slater)