Kevin Durant is Tall Stephen Curry.
When evaluating chemistry, talent, attitude, or whatever platitude or hypothetical situation you want to comfort or discomfort yourself from this entire scenario, just remember this: Kevin Durant is Tall Stephen Curry.
From a skillset standpoint, Durant has an incredible handle as a 6'11 forward, a shooting stroke so pure the shooting competitions would become daily stories of lore, a cocky shimmy just like the guy that owns the Bay, and a quiet confidence on and off the floor that's pure serial killer.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, if KD wants to leave Oklahoma City (and make no mistake, he has made zero public moves that would suggest he has even given it thought), then your Golden State Warriors are the frontrunners to sign the greatest offensive power this side of Stephen Curry.
Since Woj reported it, it's essentially now a confirmation of what we could piece together by witnessing what Bob Myers and the rest of the management braintrust was laying out the past several seasons.
They signed Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to below-the-market deals. Regardless of whether they got lucky with the growth or not, the amount of flexibility along with the rising cap is a perfect stroke of timing for these Warriors.
The cookie crumbs show in the small contract extension offer to Harrison Barnes, knowing he would reject the offer given the 2016 climate, the deals to Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala, and Andrew Bogut running up in another season giving the team full cap relief for Durant and Curry's potential max contracts. But let's dive into a breakdown of why this should happen, why this should not, why it won't and ultimately, why this might truly end up as the greatest core in sports history.
It starts with the pessimistic notion that age does take ahold of us now. Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa, and Andre Iguodala are on the downslopes of their career. Still extremely productive and superb basketball players, the next season does not necessarily sustain the same production on such a long scale. When the Warriors are mentioned as all in their prime, it's usually the trio of Curry/Thompson/Green and then Barnes. The supporting players have allowed GSW the depth, defensive versatility and overall basketball intelligence in making this Warriors team one of the most unique in history.
However savvy, there is no guarantee that the production remains the same. Not everyone are the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors use sports science like the Spurs to get Bogut, Iguodala, and Livingston rest days. And yet, what's the upside of hoping for this sustainability when the other side is KD? I'd harbor a guess that keeping the entire roster together (unlikely as I will get into later) would resemble most of the same results on offense and defense next season. But like someone smart once said, perhaps it is better to let go of something one year early than one year too late.
Then there is the Barnes predicament. Almost knowing that Barnes would not accept such a small offer, the Warriors decided to shelve the talks until he next offseason. As Barnes has failed to make a real leap, it seems more and more unlikely that with or without Durant, the Warriors will throw $20 million per year at him. Bobby Marks of Yahoo! Sports wrote yesterday that the Warriors would have to renounce his rights in order to make a Durant deal work. It certainly does not help that there were certain transgressions regarding how long it took Barnes to come back from an ankle injury. Though no fault of his own, as Barnes has his right to get completely healthy during a contract year, it stands to reason that Thompson played through a back injury, Curry through a shin, and Green through ankle injuries while Barnes sat at home. And to pay that guy more than Draymond and Klay? Regardless of how it does make sense given need and climate, it's still a hard sell.
Inserting Durant while flipping Iguodala, Bogut, Barnes, and the rest of the bench while retaining Livingston and Kevin Looney is a hard depth pill to swallow. Nevertheless, the chance to form a core all solidly in their prime for the next 5-7 years, and the selfishness mindset of each harkens back to the San Antonio Spurs rather than the Los Angeles Lakers. Of course, it starts at the top where Steve Kerr, Bob Myers, Jerry West, and Joe Lacob refuse to take praise. Now the taller version of Curry, Durant shares that mentality not only off the court but on, given his perpetual backseat taken to Russell Westbrook.
The 2014-15 Golden State Warriors meshed so quickly and seamlessly it created a perfect blend of special, one that shined defensively. They created a style so vicious and smooth by switching onto every single person, at times throwing out wings with the same long wingspan and snuffing out any type of offense at all stations.
The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors has kicked it up several different notches, fastening together the offense, pushing it into overdrive, and annihilating elite opponents like the Spurs and Cavs with backcuts, sidecuts, frontcuts, and any other type of cut. They are creating a unique special kind offense now unstoppable with a chemistry never-before-seen.
The 2016-17 Golden State Warriors might yet again create a new style of special. Throw away all the depth issues, the chemistry questions, the shots left to go around, and imagine this:
Stephen Curry flips the ball to Draymond Green at the top of the key, sprints to set Klay Thompson a baseline backscreen, cuts back up off another KD upscreen, receives the ball at the top again as Green rolls to the rim, Curry now sprinting into a pick-and-pop with Kevin Durant. Thompson one corner, Green rolling, Durant popping for a wing 3. Curry poised with the ball in his hand, defense on its heels, and the entire NBA historical world at its mercy.
The Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors might be the most special of them all.