After a couple days, the blinding dust is settled. The reports of the meetings Golden State and Jerry West had with Kevin Durant are now open to the public. The reactions from the local and national media are coming from all angles, senseless and logical, hateful and adored. And the masses are relishing in the destruction soon to be left in its wake.
As everything clears, and the offseason comes to a nominal close, the Golden State Warriors are left to usher in the newest NBA era, their NBA era.
Even when they won 67 games and a title, or when Stephen Curry won unanimous MVP on the way to 73 wins and an NBA Finals collapse, the Golden State Warriors were less a sure thing than a team like the 80s Boston Celtics, Kobe Lakers or the San Antonio Spurs. They were a budding dynasty, one still overwhelming favored to win the 2017 title. But at the end of the day, it still took superhuman efforts from Kyrie Irving and LeBron James to squeak out a title. But it was a title that slipped through their grasp, and could very well taint the career of a still budding dynasty of the Steph/Klay/Dray Warriors.
Now Kevin Durant. The greatest player in the world along with Stephen Curry and LeBron James. A seven-foot tall Curry. A dizzying blend of shooting and athleticism the likes of James with the handle of Curry. And he's here to stay long-term. Without him, the Warriors are still great but not like this, not the way this sets up on and off the hardwood. On the court, they max out Harrison Barnes and win a ton of games and hope other free agents flock here next offseason. Off the court, they get into the room with other free agents and pitch their new stadium, their Big 3, and a chance to join what might happen.
With Kevin Durant, everything changes.
The repercussions of Durant's decision will reverberate not just across the Bay, but throughout the NBA, for at least the next five years. The Warriors made over $30 million in profit in the postseason alone, more than some teams in the entire regular season. Soon after the signing, David West signed for the veteran's minimum and Zaza Pachulia took a one-year, 2.9 million dollar deal, about 4 times less than what he would have earned.
This is just beginning.
NBA history is littered with ring-chasing veterans, with super teams that attract said veterans, and a dominant team that runs the show for a sustained period of time. We don't know how certain that was with a non-KD Warriors team, especially with LeBron James scowling at them from the other side. The quintet of Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, KD, and Andre Iguodala now changes the dynamic of not only veterans signing but future free agents that want to bolster this budding dynasty, more certain and concrete than ever before.
Like those Lakers, Spurs, and any championship contender, every veteran will flock to the Warriors, and they will have the ability to get in the room first with pending star free agents like Paul George, Gordon Hayward, and Karl-Anthony Towns in the future. The new era claims not just championships and success, but the ability to sustain this excitement and power into the far, far future.
Though not everything glitzy and glamorous will remain that way through this run. As if the backlash to the Warriors didn't start ablaze during the postseason, the entire Molotov cocktail is coming, or for worse and better, the brigade is gearing up, and the villains are about to soak in the hate at every turn. Every single non-GSW fan is now fully turned against a team they feel built like the LeBron James Miami Heat.
Kevin Durant is human. LeBron James turned full villain and tried to taunt crowds and go full heel in his first season as a Heat, trying to relish in the role. We don't know how Durant, Steph, Klay, or Draymond will take this. Without Durant, the Warriors are still somewhat lovable, still homegrown, and still perpetuating the faux ideology of the "right way" to run and play in an organization. They are the poor man's San Antonio Spurs combine with the Rucker Park swagger. With Durant, they are the Death Lineup of Mass Hatred.
We are led to believe that Durant is impressionable, watches First Take (why?!) and texts journalists to directly answers questions he wants to address at press conferences. These things might not matter, they likely won't when the ball is tipped. But the spotlight is about to glare like never before. If we thought the reaction to a single regular season loss to the novelty of a suddenly 73-win team was overwhelming, the Warriors are in for a hailstorm of attention we have never witnessed.
Every play, every loss, every playoff game, and every title is now measured against not just the legacy of themselves but against the entire scope of NBA history ranging back to the ABA. This is the type of pressure the Golden State Warriors have laid upon themselves. Every article, every video, every incoming feature, and every highlight on every media network is now satiated with everything Golden State.
And we have yet to even touch on this colossal shift of NBA movement on the court. The Warriors are now impossible to guard and even more frenetically switch-y on defense. To cap it all off they now host the greatest, most talented, and most impressively, the most perfectly fitted roster of all time.
The Golden State Warriors have entered a whole new world of judgement, an entirely different realm of expectations, and the unbridled joy of sustained success. The Golden State Warriors have entered the Golden State Warriors Era.