SUPERteam Complete: Kevin Durant Joins the Warriors

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

If you have ever played the NBA 2K franchise video game, there were probably a few times where you constructed a dream team. You could have created a team featuring Larry Bird, Russell Westbrook, and Tim Duncan or a team with Allen Iverson, LeBron James, and Lamarcus Aldridge. How about a team with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green? A dream lineup turned into reality.

The wait is over and in a shock to millions of NBA fans across the country, Kevin Durant will join the Golden State Warriors.

“The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player — as that has always steered me in the right direction,” Durant states in his Player Tribune article. “But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth. With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors. “

Marc Stein of ESPN reports that Durant will be signing a 2-year deal with the Warriors at $54.3 million with a player option for year #2. This could just be a one year run with the Warriors and then we go through this again next season but it is very unlikely as Durant will look to make a run this season and then opt out with another huge payday in sight. Looking at it from the Thunders’ perspective, it is a heartbreaking announcement as the team was just beginning to re-load with the acquisition of Victor Oladipo as a possible starter. Now Russell Westbrook will look to just do it all by himself this season and possibly in free agency after the ’17 season. For the Warriors, it is celebration time.

How the old saying goes, “If you can not beat them, join them.”

It was just over a month ago where the Warriors came back from a 3-1 deficit and shocked the basketball world by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was a thrilling series where the Thunder’s 4th quarter struggles were exposed once again in Games 6 and 7. Billy Donovan did his best to his adjust to the Warriors style of play but when it came down to crunch time in the 4th quarter of Game 6 and 7, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook threw the gameplan away and decided to finish out the series by playing hero ball. Their plan was a failure. 

Now instead of going back to OKC and reload to look to take down the Warriors, he has decided to join them. A 28 points per game scorer joining the 73-9 Warriors. That is just insane. Now with Durant on the Warriors, that ultimately means goodbye to Harrison Barnes. The Mavericks planned to sign Barnes to a 4-year, max contract and now with Durant occupying the starting small forward position for the Warriors, it’s unlikely that the Warriors will match and pay the max for Barnes to come off the bench.

The rest of the league must be thinking.. what now? The Warriors were a missed Curry three-point shot with a minute to go in Game 7 away from back-to-back championships. Draymond Green was locked into a long-term deal last summer, Klay Thompson is not going anywhere, and Stephen Curry/Andre Iguodala are free agents next summer but they also will not be going anywhere. Many NBA fans were talking about this Warriors team becoming a dynasty and how this team will rule basketball for next seasons. Now add one of the best scorers in NBA history and a former scoring champ to the team? It is just plain unfair for the rest of the league and you just might start planning the parade once again.

Now chemistry will be the one aspect to look at if this team begins to struggle. The way this ultra, mega super team has been constructed is different from how others in the past have been built. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined forces with Paul Pierce and a Celtics team that was coming off of a losing season. LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces with Dwyane Wade and a Miami Heat team that was struggling to get out of the 1st round. Now Kevin Durant joins an established Warriors team that just went to back-to-back NBA Finals.

It will be interesting to see how this team comes together. Which players will take a reduced role on offense? With Barnes leaving, that takes away 9 shots per game so would that mean that Green or Thompson would take fewer shots to accommodate Durant’s arrival. Also, how will the offense run when it gets to the clutch time in the 4th quarter?

The Warriors front office will also need bring in a starting center to replace Andrew Bogut. They could look to bring back Festus Ezeli or Marreese Speights for a discount price or they can look elsewhere in free agency with players such as Tyler Zeller or veteran Nene. Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr could also roll out a small lineup featuring Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Durant, Green. The Warriors also need to address their bench situation. Iguodala, Livingston, Looney, McCaw are currently their only bench players and with Durant making $26 million this season, they will need to bring in Jerry West to work give another impressive sales pitch and convince some key role players to take a huge paycut to play for Golden State.

So many questions to be answered once the season starts but these are exciting times for Warriors fans across the country. With immediate reaction by NBA fans, one thing that is for sure is that the Warriors will embrace this new swagger and play the role of villains. Hope they like their new role as villains in the NBA but championships is all that they will be focusing on with a dynasty that is just hitting their prime.