Wow! I can honestly say I saw Kevin Durant going back to OKC from the start of the year after seeing both his and Westbrooks development as the NBA’s best dynamic-duo. Well its safe to say things don’t always go as you expect, and I feel that is the real reason so many are shocked today. Like myself, many saw the potential in the Durant-Westbrook duo, after they were only a game away from eliminating the “best” team in NBA history from playoff contention. Now, look at where we are.
Analysis: First things first, shout out to Jerry West and the rest of Golden State’s management, these guys are absolute wizards and the real stars of this move. Now, lets get into the actual signing. KD is expected to sign a two year 54.3 million dollar contract with a player option in the second year, which once officially signed, will make him a Golden State Warrior.
What this means for NBA: Now that KD has officially made this decision, an inevitable change for the rest of the NBA is coming. Starting with every team not directly affected by this trade; all of the young teams in both the Eastern and Western conference who are in a state of improvement (Pistons, Blazers, Bucks, Suns, Timberwolves, Nuggets, Jazz, Pelicans, and Kings) just to name a few, are going to need to keep their heads up and take this one on the chin. With no legitimate hope of beating a team like this in the playoffs, young teams like this need to continue their rebuild, develop their players, stay competitive and simply wait. No team lasts forever. For all of the middle of the road teams who had hopes of “winning now”(Raptors, Knicks, Grizzlies, Clippers, Heat, Celtics, Mavericks) for example, are going to need to build for the future while staying competitive and pushing the better teams. As for the better teams in the NBA (San Antonio and Cleveland), they are going to have give the Warriors legitmate battles whenever they meet. The Spurs, though older, still have the NBA’s best coach and rising star in Kawhi Leonard, and is one of the few teams I see pushing this new super-squad. The Cavs are the reigning champions and will need to show the Warriors that no matter who they have, they are the champs, I expect Cleveland to really push this team.
The Future’s of OKC and Golden State: At this point, it is hard not to see this Warriors team going on to win the next two World Championships. With a potential lineup of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green, this is perhaps the best team on paper assembled in history. And maybe it will be, maybe this proves to be like when Jerry West brought Shaq to the Lakers over 20 years ago; we all know how that tale ended, a three-peat and another Lakers Dynasty. Durant’s signing reminds me of that move and the potential it had, but we often forget about what happened to the team Shaq left behind. In this rendition of the tale, KD is Shaq, and as Shaq left Penny Hardaway behind, Durant is too leaving behind an elite point guard in Westbrook. In the years after Shaq, Penny played well when he wasn’t hurt, but was never the same; I can guarantee this wont happen to Westbrook, as I believe he will be remembered as a Hall of Famer one day and lead OKC back to the Finals. As for the future of Golden State, I see this playing out two ways. In one scenario, the Warriors blow through the regular season on their way to back-to-back titles and NBA immortality. In another scenario, this team ends up like the 2003-’04 Lakers, the forgotten Laker team. This team had an elite roster much like the Warriors’ now, with players like Kobe Bryant, prime Shaq, Gary Payton, and Karl Malone, yet they lost in the Finals to the Detroit Pistons in five games. Only time will tell…