The best sport in the world just got better. Heading into Monday, we knew that a team who just blew a 3-1 lead to end their season was going to end up with Kevin Durant, we just had to wait and see if it was the Warriors or the Thunder. In a letter written on The Player's Tribune, Kevin Durant announced his decision to team up with the Splash Brothers in the Bay Area. He's receiving some heat for not choosing to stay with his team and his loyalty and pride are being questioned. I'm here to tell you why his decision was a smart one and how this move is GREAT for the NBA and all other teams.
Big time free agents jumping ship and heading to a team that they believe puts themselves in the best position to win a championship is nothing new. It kinda really started when Jerry West convinced Shaq to join forces with Kobe and Phil Jackson to begin their reign in the early 2000's. Then when Danny Ainge got two huge free agents in the same summer to join the Celtics as Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett joined Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers, and the future star in Rajon Rondo. Then the Lakers again when they got Pau, Odom, and Artest to join Kobe. Then Pat Riley worked his mob-style magic when he got Lebron to leave his home state of Ohio to join Wade and Bosh in a move that looked like it was leading to a dynasty, especially when they later added Ray Allen. So like I said, this is nothing new. The Warriors built this team through the draft and trades in order to get themselves in this position. Curry, Klay, and Draymond were all guys that everybody passed on except for the Warriors. They fired coach Mark Jackson and got Steve Kerr, and all of this with Jerry West being the GM, doing it the way he did in Los Angeles. It just so happened to be that Kevin Durant was the guy that was available when they finally got a crack at the top free agents.
So put yourself in Durants position for a second. This guy has done nothing but do his best to try to deliver a championship to the team he's been with since he was drafted. He's gotten close, but failed to reach his goal. Now the best team in the world comes calling, telling him that they have seen his body of work, they know he is one of the best players in the NBA if not the best player in the NBA without a ring, and how badly they want him on their team. They are willing to give him $27 million a year AND can offer him the best chance to win the title. I highly doubt any of you are going to not take that deal. I hear things about loyalty and pride, and thats all well and good. But I know a lot of people who talk on the internet probably need to look in the mirror before they judge someone else's loyalty and pride. And for $27 million and a pretty good chance at being a part of something historic, I can almost guarantee a lot of people are throwing loyalty out the window. So to the people who are judging his actions, I think that might say a little bit more about them then it does about him. Lets say he did stay, and he never wins a ring, then what do people think of him? The best player ever without a ring? Maybe people would've said "He should've taken that Warriors deal when he had the chance"? But in making this move, it seems as if he doesn't really care what the people are going to say. The dude wants to win a ring, and he made that pretty clear by joining the best team in the world. He worked to get to the point where he was in control of where he ended up, and he chose the best possible destination, and I don't really see how that is something to look down upon.
Now people are asking me how I can possibly think this is good for the NBA. Well for one, it builds the brand. People are talking about basketball and we're still 3-4 months from the regular season even starting. Guarantee if you walk up to a random person and ask them how they feel about Kevin Durant, I'm sure you're going to hear an opinion, because everybody is talking about it. But even bigger than this is how it is a message to every other team out there. The Warriors sat idly by as the Celtics, Lakers, and Heat had their title runs. Building through the draft, making trades, signing great coaching staffs, and continuing to improve within their own organization. Now they're coming off the greatest regular season ever in NBA history and when free agency comes along, they get Kevin freaking Durant, the best available player out there. Why? Because they made themselves a destination. They aren't a historic organization like the Lakers, Knicks, or Celtics. They have one title in 50 years, yet they made themselves a go-to spot for guys like Andre Igoudala and Kevin Durant. While the Warriors are having their shine, other teams need to take notes about what the Warriors did to get themselves in this position. Build through the draft, get great coaching, find steals in trades, whatever you have to do to get ten steps ahead of the next team the way the Warriors did. This move is good for the NBA because its a message to the other teams to step their shit up. Quit complaining that stars are joining up and creating super-teams and create a super-team of your own. And if your team doesn't win a title, boo-hoo. Although, I will say that all of this is Lebron's fault. If he wasn't so good then players probably wouldn't have to join forces just to beat him. When life gives you an opportunity, take it. Sometimes having pride is a bunch of bullshit that leaves you with nothing anyways.
On the flip side, I can't wait to see what Russel Westbrook has in store for the Warriors when they play each other.
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.