Just a couple weeks ago in Toronto, the Golden State Warriors were in a must win Game 5 against a hungry Raptors squad. Kevin Durant was torching, and the Warriors were slowly breaking the Raptors apart, possession by possession.
Then Durant’s Achilles tendon gave out, starting a domino effect of problematic depth issues that were compounded when a red-hot Klay Thompson hurt his ACL in Game 6. The Warriors went on to lose Game 6 by a missed Steph Curry shot, and Oracle Arena was closed forever as the season ended.
Fast forward to present day, where Durant’s decision to forego a hefty Warriors contract and split to join the Brooklyn Nets has created another domino effect on the Dubs. The Warriors slapped together a deal for Brooklyn guard D’Angelo Russell that effectively pushed Andre Iguodala’s sizable contract out the door.
Andre Iguodala was informed by Warriors early last week that he could be traded to unload salary in event Kevin Durant moved on, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Today’s trade to Memphis wasn’t a shock.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 1, 2019
#BREAKINGNEWS: The @Warriors and All-Star @Dloading have agreed on a four-year, $117M maximum contract, league sources tell @ESPN. Meanwhile, @andre is reportedly headed to Memphis after a trade with the @memgrizz. https://t.co/uIo3YZZCZh— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) July 1, 2019
On top of that, the Warriors may not have enough money to bring back young beast Kevon Looney. Wow.
In less than two weeks, the Warriors lost a town and two Finals MVP’s, with more roster shakeup on the horizon. Life comes at you fast!
There’s a lot of hurt feelings to go around, if you’re into that sort of thing. Many Oakland residents are still smarting over the abandonment of the team’s home for the last 47 years. I personally know several Oakland residents who are done rooting for the team after what they feel was a betrayal to “The Town” in order to chase after the allure of San Francisco.
Then, there’s this whole “Slim Reaper” drama. After an entire year of speculation as to what KD wanted, Marcus Thompson’s autopsy of Durant’s departure delved heavily into his relationship, or lack thereof with the franchise.
In Thompson’s brilliant piece for The Athletic, he describes why Durant and Steph Curry never quite clicked in a way that KD was possibly looking for.
Another reason (Curry and Durant) couldn’t bond fully was because they were often being pitted against each other.
Definitely by the fans, and in the space Durant frequents: social media. Even when Durant announced he was signing with the Warriors, on Independence Day 2016, while many Warriors fans celebrated, others contended the Warriors didn’t need Durant. Many fell in love with the 2015 and 2016 Warriors and scoffed when the team gave up its depth for Durant.
I wonder if KD had signed a max deal if most of that distrust from the trolls in Dub Nation would have evaporated. Also, who cares what trolls say? Anyway, the team was constructed around retaining the Hamptons 5. Durant’s departure forced the Warriors to go to plan B, which included dumping a true Warriors legend in Iguodala.
We’re gonna have to come back to this one in detail, but gosh this was an emotional moment for me. Iguodala was the first free agent who added legitimacy to the Dubs. He taught the young guns how to sacrifice and stay ready, going from a starter to a bench role and winning the Finals MVP. His clutch plays and steadiness were the backbone of the dynasty. His presence will be sorely missed.
There’s so much more to unpack as free agency rolls on. Heck, by the time you read this, the Warriors may have somehow tanked for Zion and picked him up, or traded Jordan Bell to China for some prospects. What a wild time!