After months of speculation and a few days of anxiety, unrestricted free agent Kevin Durant announced today on the Players Tribune that he will be signing with the Golden State Warriors.
Durant will reportedly sign a two year deal, with a player option in the second year. Durant will opt out after next season, and most likely sign a massive deal to cash in on the rising NBA Salary cap.
Kevin Durant will sign a two-year deal with the Warriors at $54.3 million, league sources say, with a Player Option for Year 2— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2016
Royce Young of ESPN reported late yesterday that Durant's decision had been narrowed down to the Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the only franchise that he had played for in his career. Having previously said that he was going to make a decision based on basketball reasons, Durant was clearly more encouraged by his opportunity to win a title playing alongside fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson.
Hope that the Warriors would be Durant's choice increased on Sunday after Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reported that the 2014 NBA MVP had a phone conversation with Jerry West in which he discussed his role on the team and the potential to enhance his reputation as an all-around player. We might never know how much that conversation mattered in the pursuit of Durant, but it certainly didn't hurt their chances.
As Apricot described in detail over the last few days, signing Durant means the Warriors need to renounce their other eight free agents and look to move Andrew Bogut's contract. Of course, the big name among that group is restricted free agent Harrison Barnes, who is expected to receive an offer from the Dallas Mavericks that the Warriors will have no reason to match with Durant in the fold. With their signature depth gone, the Warriors will now have to work to rebuild their bench around one of the best cores in the history of the league.
"Worse" by choice in the regular season. Better in the playoffs by a mile. Also won’t have a tough series until WCF. https://t.co/HAxoLsUDz1— EvanZ (@thecity2) July 3, 2016
If losing the 2016 NBA Finals played any part in Durant's choice to come to the Warriors, then this is quite a silver lining. We should all be wary of taking a second championship in three years for granted after what happened in this past season, but the Warriors have to be a heavy favorite.
Good game rest of league. Give the trophy to GSW now, we can all go home— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) July 3, 2016