Warriors fans will no-doubt celebrate KD's decision to join this great team. But hold the fireworks a moment and think about the PR hit everyone has just taken.
DURANT: KD has instantly gone from beloved to berated, from praised to pathetic. You've probably seen some of the tweets already. "If you can't beat em, join em" and "KD takes path of least resistance" — This will be his career story from now on. If he wins any ring(s), it'll be "Well, of course. What did you expect?" If he does not win, it'll be inexcusable. There is hardly a discernible path through the PR forest down which Kevin Durant doesn't become a joke.
GOLDEN STATE: Unfortunately, the perception of the Warriors just went from an amazing, admired media and fan darling to ring-grubbing losers who have to 'cheat' to win. Let's be clear about this — from a rings POV, getting Durant is an obvious great move. (And it's certainly NOT cheating.) But from a PR POV.... it's an unmitigated disaster. The Warriors will now be THE most hated team in the NBA. Yes, even more hated than Lebron's Cavs.
Non-CLE fans will now root for the Cavs to win, should GSW and CLE meet in the Finals again. I literally didn't think that was possible.
NBA: This is a major PR hit for the NBA, on several levels. The most obvious relates to the NBA's manipulation of the Finals series, in which they first suspended Green after-the-fact and unnecessarily (a tech would have been both acceptable and sufficient if they felt they had to do something about Dray's reaction to Lebron's step-over) — and then their refs officiated Game 6 with clear bias in a blatant attempt to extract a Game 7 payday, bias which included Curry's first foul-out in practically forever.
Point is: Had GS won the 2016 Finals, Durant wouldn't be able to bring himself to switch to the Warriors. The jumping-on-the-bandwagon look would be too much, even for him.
So is this turn of events right? Is there justice here, somehow/somewhere?
The fans got screwed, for sure. GS fans deserve better. Unfortunately, any rings the Warriors win with Durant will not have the same shine as that first one, when the team was magical and virgin.
Same goes for the Warriors players. They did nothing to deserve this.
Warriors management? They were shortsighted and greedy, so they get what they deserve.
NBA? Gets what it deserves, obviously. They've earned the world's scorn, for their manipulation of an otherwise-beautiful sport.
Durant? Well, it's his lack of understanding of the PR repercussions of his decision that caused all this, so can't say he's blameless. But he's still young. He's allowed some mistakes. But — this one was just too huge to wave off. It's unavoidable: KD has earned some of the hits he's going to take.
And what of the teams that lost the Durant race? They come out looking better, especially if they go far in coming years, and most especially if any of them actually beat Golden State in Finals series to come.